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peter.howden
Anecdotes from the auld Steamie;

The Broons Sisters.

It happens in every class of society, in companies, workplaces, boards of business, there is always one or two nasty gremlins, who supply the bullets but never take part, not honest enough to be openly dishonest, though sneakily scheme behind everyone’s back, to redeem themselves with the gaffers, bosses…or president of the board…thus it as so in the grand Victorian buildings throughout the vast industrial manufacturing centres of Scotland, housing the Auld Steamies, the swimming pools and Turkish Suites., in each community.

In one such ‘Auld Steamie’, two types of over-enthusiastic stool pigeons were present. One guy nicknamed; ‘Night & Day’…. would do anything, work any shift, even penny-ante himself by embrace the uncaring Area Superintendents with tittle-tattle . The money takers in the front office were legends being as honest as the day is long…with two exception, known by the workforce only, as having a racket with ticket sales, one covered for the other…and Vice versa.

Situated in the pay desk where the most dangerous pair, ‘Tweedledee and Tweedledum’, mutually seen through the office glass, stuck together with their asses* in adjoining chairs. Real names were Daphne and Maggie, as from ‘The Broons’; but this is where the similarities halted, because, Daphne was as thin as a crooked rake…Maggie could loan her scunner’s face to ghost rides in the visiting carnival shows. Both inherited hypocritical smirks of indignation, furtive in their ambitious manner. Snide is the word.

Gaffers of all ranks passed through the office, enthusiastic to clype, the gruesome twosome wasted no time inserting hints of misconduct of the ungrateful workers, in supervisor’s lobes…in hope they would act passing it up to higher authority. The information was hearsay, of people dodging the column, however considering the knowledge the workforce had at their disposal…It was kettle and black magnified. This is when the whole staff decided to, turn the tables so to speak, by a suggestion from Cap-Kirk (he always boldly went).

Upstairs, in one of the hot baths cubicles, was stored a large forgotten cask of industrial black soap(jellified), from which was taken small tubs of the stuff. It was fantastic for the ladies washing their hair, leaving their locks, golden or otherwise, softly textured, and shiny. Emphasising what the barrel contained very loudly two of the Steamie staff talked about a scheme to remove this barrel to sell the contents elsewhere. Someone had manged to pilfer the keys, for the back door of the boiler, so the shenanigans will happen late that Saturday afternoon.

The lure was set for the two female informants took the bait…hook line and sinker. Later, the deviously pair sprang into action, Daphne talked to the bath lady blocking her view while thorny Maggie checked the goods in the obsolete stall. Just before closing, collectively grassed all they had heard to the collage graduated supervisor, Andy Pandy. Full of his own status, and responsibilities, he informed the four area superintendents. The management decided to set a trap and catch the villains in one clean sweep.

When the staff began their shift on the following Monday morning, there was no sign of Maggie or her prickly friend Daphne. The pair customarily opened the premises well before authorized time, to fix their ticket sham, so no eyes could see their ill-gotten mission. Later through the grapevine, the Broons sisters had been separated, employment wise, moved to different premises. What actually happened late that Saturday afternoon? those in the know…kept totally tight-lipped

News down the line the top brass knew, ‘Tweedledee and Tweedledum’, were at it, but after this fiasco, gave the management an excuse to move them from temptation. Other update was of Maggie, still being a sore faced plumb…but had attractive soft glossy hair. Daphne was stuck in a back room of the main office…counting pens it was thought.
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peter.howden
My Chronicles 24/02/2017;

Awkward moments and surprises have lingered over the last few weeks with the main change is with ‘She who must be obeyed’ having a stooky on her left leg. We had visited the ’Isle of Arran’ for my 50th birthday. Poor Rebecca fell and damaged her left Fibula and foot quite severely, ruched to mainland hospital, near Kilmarnock, never quite comfortable with the operation’s outcome.

Recently, the pain had increased so oft to the royal who stated after a X-ray bone had healed the wrong way. Result was a stooky for some 12 weeks then hopefully another operation…If possible. Very exhausting lumbering around a plastered foot, even for the young, so now Rebecca is limited in her accomplishments. Fortunately, her little car is Automatic which means Rebecca can drive but feels limited with Aunt Becky because she can’t be able to go shopping with her.

Rebecca predicament is explained to Aunt Becky with each visit we individually make. Now it is nigh impossible to go out together, Rebecca stays in and chats. Becky is quite happy, even has a glint in her eye, connecting extraordinary stories of the past, which never happened. From time to time, as if a cat, her head tilts deliberately one way, then the other, while staring at something invisible… in a confused manner.

Although Becky has repetitive dialog, her mind is working all the time, unprejudiced taking obscure route, lives for the moment, with occasional trips to reality. She needs special care now for her own inner comfort, for us to listen intently to her stories, as if they were brand new…this is sometimes extremely difficult to do…but then; I have always been a con man.

We had a hurl in the motor today, which was just as much magic for me as it was for Becky. The ‘Tartan top twenty’ pounding inside my old jalopy and both tapping feet at well kent Scottish songs with the finally of “Flower of Scotland”, twice; almost lifting the roof with allegiance, while two grabbing our imaginary claymores. The flowing scenery dominated by the snow covered prehistoric Kilpatrick Hills, mastering all they surveyed as the blanket of snow carefully protecting the mysterious nature growth-bed for the next session…pure dead brilliant.

The second pleasure, while taking the country route back home, having the fabulous scenery, along with the majestic hills again, complete with early rendering of the ‘Rolling Stones’, plus the ‘Great Blues Band’ belting out as only they can…how can you top that?

The so named winter weather has been mild, the proof is early growth in our so-called garden, creating Snowdrops, crested Iris and even Crocus along with Daffodils. After all the music excitement, it was a quiet joy just standing there for a unknown period of time, taking in nature…super.

W.H Davies mentioned in a poem; time to stop and stare, which is a habit slowly disappearing because almost everything in automatic, we miss wee special breaks to just reflect whatever comes into our heads…or just mellow over nothing. People don’t even halt and contemplate, while winding old bedside alarm clocks, or watches, Society has become processer zombified
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peter.howden
HARDLY WORTH A PHART

Because genuine concern rests with many peoples in numerous lands, countless individuals believe we cannot change wild nature, we must adapt to suit the circumstances as it presents itself… and there is fair merit in this. However; there is a lot of absolutely boloney written, then spoken, of global warming and how we humans are to blame for the end of the world, or ‘Life as we now it Jim’ (if you are a trekkie). One word Poppycock

Another way to look at the newly created unwanted phenomenon, the unremitting accumulation of Methane gas, particularly aired out… then into fact, meanwhile our poor cows have been shouldered the blame. This has heehaw nothing to do with the gravity of the unsolved situation, but could cause hallucination on a mass scale

For this reason, the authorities are attempting to hide the truth behind the fallacy of the udder. It is factual how cows chewing the cud, gives off heat and huge quantities of Methane. Insect specialists at the Natural History Museum, reluctantly reveal the habits of termites, was complete falsehood. Similar Walt Disney instructed in filming ‘White Wilderness’, lemmings committed willing suicide, ‘Seppuku’ if Japanese. Shot in Canada, not in Norway as advertised. Naughty Walt paid the Eskimos one dollar for each lemming taking part…misleading the whole cinema world.

The creatures famous for building enormous mounds and eating houses, once cartooned as ‘silent destroyers’; termites are the villains of the piece. The fly in the ointment is, Earth’s populace holds 2,500 species forming 250 trillion termites, including sympathetic social relatives, the cockroaches, of worldwide cockroaches, worldwide brings the numbers into trillion billions… almost absolute infinity…+1.

The boffins are furtively fretting with the physics of this massive problem, because the sexual habits of Termites are not as explained earlier, with Queens and kings only mating. It has now been exposed how the once thought sterile workers and soldiers, in utter sexual appatite frustration, throughout their entire exist…fart constantly at the rate of twice in one human second.

With this bombshell, the genii have worked out mathematically…if the entire population of termites let their private wind go collectively, at the exact precise instance…. there would be enough energy not only to move the world…but put it into a destructive spin forcing the Earth’s orbit shift, aiming for the sun and an immature supernova.

The shaky answer; to introduce to termites, some sort of clinical stimuli replicating ***IGNORED WORDS***ion, to relive the built-up tensions…what about the queens and king termites; ####* them!

A teacher once gave me two bits of advice…. continuously endeavour to be better than the teacher…. always bring a pinch of salt to any table[size="4"][/size]
peter.howden
Desperate; 9;
Lost

I’ve lost ma bairns …it just happened in a jiffy, playing around outside they were where I could keep a eye on them. while I searched for a ten-bob-bit, for the fag machine …. Next thing I kent, they wasna there. My wee darlings…. What will I do? I lent the bloody mobile ta my mammy, so I cannae call the house, or anywhere…but I need to find the bairns. Maybe they just wandered off, no thinking about how stressed I’d be…but the main door has been wide open all the time so I could watch them.

I need a fag, right now, just a drag to calm down. Just looking in my purse for a ten-bob-bit, for the bloody machine…turned around…and they gone …oh my God what if they’ve been snatch… naw three nippers, including the wean in the pram, my cherubs are all weans, none over seven, they’d have shrieked the house down. Where are ma wee angels.

By the way, their hopeless father split up some time ago…. Cannae recall when but It was that bastard of a man I’ve a weakness for…it’s his fault. He’s never a looker, or sharp repartee, or even a decent willy…. but it’s something raw about him, I cannae put my finger on it. Where he goes …I bloody follow like a demented teenager. I cannae understand it…the door was wide open; how could they just vanish…if their playing a cruel trick I’ll skelp the wee buggers

‘Slow down girl, you’re getting nowhere talking gibberish’ I’m noo masel being sick with worry.

Nobody but nobody could say I’ve ever neglected them, my kids want for nonthin. I’m so lucky my oldest; ‘Johnny’ looks after his wee sisters, when I could not manage. Sometimes when I was not well or a wee bit run down, Johnny, my wee soldier, would look after the wee Tinkerbelles my three princesses. Wash them as clean as little buttons he does, sit them down to watch the telly; then oft to beddy-byes land.

A couple of times, when I was not well, tired, could hardly move, Johnny put me to bed. I’m not ashamed in fact I’m bloody proud of the wee man…. I wonder where they are now?
I’m sick with worry

They never ever went hungry, no sir, not if my life depended on it, I saw to that, always something to eat in the house. Never left them alone……. except for maybe ten minutes while I nicked down to the oft license for a wee message, always brought back crisps or a bar of chocolate…. you should have seen the nippers’ tiny eyes light up…. pure dead brilliant.

These social workers ………nebbie buggers; sharp tongued and full of book crap……life is not like that you know…. Not real life …. they ken sweet dammed all about love, I’ll tell you. I’ve learned the hard way…but I wish I could just see ma wee cherubs, they’re everything to me. If I could just see wee little faces, then I’d know they were all right.

It’s this glaiky chancer of a man…I’m here, in a weird dingy pub… Its noo ma fault …I kept the pub door open all the time…. I’m hurtin, its noo fair…if they had done what I had telt them; everything would be spankin.

But naw; it’s that adventuress spirit wee Johnny gets from his natural father…I told them, just stay there…stand still while mammy goes in for a slight refreshment ….my wee gem had her favourite doll, with the woolly hat, with her …when I came out ….their gone…vanished …like a thief in the night took them….bet the wee shits are at hame…
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peter.howden
The undiscovered world.

I was conscious of being there, only as a third party, observing something phenomenal where there was no obvious light, yet I could realize, no sound as if there was nothing to hear. The sensation of vastness, in all directions, was utterly overpowering, comprising of no North, South, nor East or West, no up no down…just an empty vacuum. As if mischievous immense invisible Gods were hiding in the sulk, or was I witnessing the creation of a vast mystical universe. In some strange way, I caressed this place as if I knew where I was, but just failed to touch exactly were, or what in my mind

A sense of extreme heat and bitter cold, two compound elements, aggressive for sovereignty as hotness casting moulted rocks striking blasts of flames, appearing over polluted waters forming icebergs drifting on nothing other than obvious polluted waters. I observed all before me, flying unannounced through both contrary elements existing without peace, side by side, not quite touching at the imaginary borderline. For an mysterious motive, the number 16 was prominent as part of my suspicious logic, while whizzing through this immensity, way beyond human understanding…but so exhilarating.

From the nothing, came creation of the world, set out its violent picture by giant primal Gods of Nordic. They first turn the ice domain into oceans, first contaminated but cleansed with salt from constant tears of the Gods. They lapped the waters then blew out, almost completely, the fiery lands now forming a variety of domains, containing sweeping plains, surrounded by tremors clashing and grinding massive misshaped rocks to dust eventually to become the sands of desserts… and sea beds.

At first, new earth was continually dim, thus the primal Gods created the sky, supported by 4 twisted invisibles dwarfs. The creatures from the ice and fire were upright, others tainted from the left-over pollution were wicked; unfortunately, good, and evil, like night and day, began their relentless struggle for supremacy. Each amazing happening unfolded before me, then without effort on my part, shifted to another advantage… Abruptly from nowhere, a familiar murmur interrupted the process.

The interjecting murmur grew and grew, until a large unknown shape of darkness overtook everything, then from a mysterious place came; “At 16.00 hours the train will arrive in Central Station, please take care leaving the train!”. After a slight refreshment with a china Jim Hendry, I had fallen asleep on the train while listing to Grieg and Mahier on my trusty IPod,

Now my future will never be the same, simply because two of my ‘China’s’ have hallow legs, and now I prove to be but a sap. Worse to come, Salty; will claim the prised crown, after some near 40 years, playing ‘Alcohol |Chess’ …I will be disqualified, un- ceremonially, as a non-starter. Fate has thrown its chains.

It’s not only Gods who believe they are especially honourable towards trusting mysticisms minded humans. Some humans believe they are also bestowed in this way, but own dark quirkiest ways as well. We, on this fabulous biosphere of existence, by believing in them, become part of the theology structure, no matter how tedious that is. We fail to recall, just being here, witnessing something so simple yet extraordinary, in our words, all can be immortal…but we are not[size="4"][/size]
peter.howden
Wherewithal date

Awaking abruptly in the darkish bedroom only to see the alarm had still an hour and a half to ring, she puffed up the pillow, tucking the single duvet around her, snuggling down to dream of her suiter extraordinary, who she had been meeting for the past few weeks. The ‘per chance’ first wonderful encounter was close to the penny farthing romantic paperbacks, she could have written it herself.

Their eyes met over a crowded room as he struggled to come closer and closer to her, finally come face to face with their eyes transfixed to each other. The object of her affection was of a different class in society than her, but he spoke softly, in a gallant manner, uttering soothingly how does this count when in love.


They have met almost every single day, at Boots corner, (a renowned meeting place for young romantics) since the fairy tale accidental encounter. She counts her blessing, marvels at his masculine square jaw, good looks, each happenstance brings a surprising unspoken binding to each other as anguished pains echo loudly each time they part. The one problem is to find some privacy to talk and plan just where they want to go in this association. They have heard, and felt loves trumpet call, to intimately coil bare man and woman as one, but resisted temptation so far, though she is a mere weak female, he is an utter gentleman

So, without fault or favour, she candidly decides, today would be the day to make sure she was a walking female goddess, dressed not to kill but to stun the very daylights out of her swain.

Her love of her life caught her attention so intensely some weeks before, now she was certainly gunning for him to make a lasting commitment. She had no intentions of losing her ‘beau’ for lacking exciting and witty stimulating conversation, combined with her feminine allure, much above par of normal everyday chitchat. She would bring her suiter back to her boudoir.

Thinking nonstop while taking her morning ablutions, dressing then catching the bus to the rendezvous. Now she felt her ability with the verbal dress rehearsal. Everything had to be perfect and spot on with her newest and most expensive perfume and makeup but most important the words to really capture his heart. Throughout the morning, her thoughts wandered around to how she would say something enticing and surprisingly original verse as an opening line.

With all the inner concentration for perfection, time had slipped by and before she knew it she had arrived at Argyll St. As usual, this famed tryst, was packed with people hurrying back and forth. Her eyes searched long and constantly for her envisioned lover, but there was no sign. In an act of desperation, she forcibly joins the throng and mingles within the moving bodies, desperately to catch her man’s eye…but to no avail.

Stopping dead in her tracks, impatiently waits beside one of the famous white columns at the shops entrance. Some time passes as almost everyone has gone, leaving her and a very young fellow, standing in the cold night air. He timidly approaches, asking if she is the lady called Miss McPherson. She reply’s jadedly yes, the stranger hands her a note. Without another word spoken, he walks away.

With trembling hands, she manages to open the note holding two dreadful printed words…” Dearest, Sorry”, She instantly hysterically cries… cries out loud, unable to hold back the agony of tears…then heads for the long…long way home
peter.howden
I have scanned through my Scribbles, and noticed I have repeated some tales twice ..my sincere apologies to all who have read my words…particularly to.... Big Al
peter.howden
My Chronicles 20/03/2017;

It may appear as if I have ignored this part of my scribbles, and possibly a smidgen of truth is in there somewhere, though a limp excuse is simply that… ‘She who must be obeyed’, plus myself have had leg problems. Mine was simple enough as follows, my right leg, broken in 1989/then2010) has started to act up with what appears to be a different limp. Sounds impossible but that is exactly it. I have had X-rays completed and with be given the results on Wednesday. Perhaps my daily intake of porridge is too heavy for my old leg to support.

Rebecca on the other hand, foot really, has had a stookie on her left leg for the past 6 weeks, making walking and most day to day things rather difficult if just plain uncomfortable. Just a few weeks ago Ann, (Rebecca’s sister) and easy-going John,(Ann’s main man) announce their intention of getting married after 31 years living as a dedicated couple. What sprung this on, I have no idea but my suggestion of them both running away, along with two witnesses, fell on stony ground, they wanted the works.

‘She who must be obeyed decided this was too good an opportunity to let illness or tiredness to stop her volunteering with most things to sort out a wedding with a couple of weeks. Our home became a dress maker and alteration with cloths flowers and you name it. I had to keep walking about to show I was not a dummy to stick a dress on or be pinned up. Ann is a lovely lady but each time she was due to come to our home…she would lose her way, or landed up at the bus terminal. Rebecca wished to wear a stunning dress and high heel shoe for the occasion …but on the day, wisely choose to dress in smart trousers and a charming blouse. She may not have been the bell of the ball…she is… ring-a-ding for me.

On their special intimate day, John (a stookie on his arm from a football injury at five a side) waited patiently for Ann, looking a stunning picture of a bride, gorgeous, with nerves to match as she was 31 minutes late for the service. With the whole family, there, it went like a dream. During the actual service, I squinted across at ‘She who must be obeyed’, remembering why I was so fascinated by her 50 years ago,. Unfortunately, at this moment, I have since forgotten, though even if I could have remembered…I would be feart of being put into an institution for the insane.

The meal; followed by the welcoming ‘DO’…was just one great ball, as Rebecca and I, in company with our family; plus the whole bunch of family members from Jersey, joined by many more happy and talkative people we had not seen for donkeys. My leg was a bit of a let-down, sadly making dancing not on my agenda. My wish is on the next complete family ‘Do’ I with show off my versatility on the dance floor …complete with a Mick Jagger parody.

‘She who must be obeyed’ along with her stookie has been visiting Becky just as regular as before the hospitals actions, though rather than a visit to the shops she sits and talks with now bright looking Becky. Her mind wanders deeper into uncharted terrains, tells stories Rebecca knows not to be true, but she is happy and seemingly quite content in her wee world, surrounded by books, of all calibres, but her ability to concentrate is restricted to a minute at best.

Her dementia is dauntingly progressing…but at what speed is just guess work. She has lost the ability to turn on the T/Our biggest fear is if Becky wanders outside, forgetting how to return home. Neighbours have been brilliant and have phoned to let us know of any such activity and once or twice taken her in, made tea and taken her home

The big fly in the ointment is; the inconsistent care given to Aunt Becky, by Glasgow Council arm’s length company ‘Cordia’, supplying different attendants weekly, who have been given poor or crammed training, with time rotas far too tight (roughly15 minutes per patient), and an unclear understanding what their duties are, or even, in some cases, how to switch on the electric cooker safety switch. The ladies, sometimes men, have been trained to come in, ask Becky what she wants to eat… she is confused…asking for a piece and marmalade. The head office of ‘Cordia’, unknown to us, had not changed her file since 2014…had not installed Becky had dementia.

Between us we run up to Aunt Becky’s every day and Sometimes I do say ‘get your f---ing sannies on’ she is ready for her hurl, in my old jalopy, head for the Kilpatrick hills, and beyond singing loudly all the IPod recorded Scottish top twenty…to our hearts content…then home for the magic cup of tea
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peter.howden
BOND NOTE;

The beautiful blonde was beckoning James forward, disregarding her saucy cloths as if it had just gone out of fashion. The reddest, roundest, fullest lips mouth he had ever seen, was panting for his favours. He closed in just moments away from sensuous connecting… he awoke.

He’d felt restlessly, uncomfortable becoming aware of reality, from a uneasy sleep after the night before His thumping head hinder his eyes focusing, leaving just a faint blur, but worse, far worse, his mouth was a stone dry, Sahara desert’s portable toilet. Now James could not escape a weird fuzzy picture, enclosed his confused mind, of attractive blond girl, with some special curves. Abruptly; he became aware of a deafening unnerving stillness, should not be, so, the guardian of the flat…his mutt usually is all over him by now.

Slowly rising out of oblivion, not the land of nod, just out senselessness for some hours, James could recall swigging back some unfathomable alcohol, as if tomorrow was irrelevant, anyway he had told himself, no work in the morning.

Who was he kidding; no employment for some time, no inquires for his agile profession, his manner of expertise. Glancing around with a head still not connected to any brain, wondering when he had come home… and how. He hoped he had not driven. First thing obvious, he was fully clothed except for his cowboy boots. James rose and in the dark, moved to the kitchen to find cool fluid, any liquid would do, even water, to quench his thirst.

James had no idea what he frantically gulped down, out of a tatty old carton, but instantly solved his immediate dire thirst, being cold while going downwards, shocking the system as it went…but the hairy tongue soon came back. His mind raced back to where was his dog. It had been with him for some time, then his curious habits made a perfect sentry canine. The mutt, would let anyone in, even if they busted in, uninvited… the hound would not let them leave, in any manner…then came retribution

James flashed back to the night before, straining through the unknown. It had been a 60s night and he had tried to pull on an old pair of flower power brushed denim flairs, however there was no way he could haul them past his knees. It was calmer to go as an easy riding cowboy, close to the ‘James Dean’ look; brilliant white tee-shirt, tight jeans and a cowboy hat, though he could vaguely recall, some joker cruelly baptised him; as ‘Pearl & Dean’.

Doubting why he was sleeping on the smelly old couch, (for that is where the crossbreed napped), instead of his king-sized bed, he bumped into some sparse furniture, almost falling back into the couch where he had played knocked out. Just managing, with great exertion, to reach the light switch. He switched on the power… to find chaos.

The room was in ramshackle turmoil, books and records strewed all over the place, while his cherished couple of seats overturned and broken. The whole thing would not register, this could not be real…so instinctively he switched the light back off, standing in the dark solitude, impassive. Still, the image of this good-looking female would not leave right in front of his mind

Slowly moved to the kitchenette, put on its light then immediately switched them back off as they were far too bright straining his crippled eyes. Opening the fridge, screwed his eyes tightly avoiding the glare from the inside bulb, reached in for a can of juice. He had no idea what kind but he was not fussy at that moment just desperate to rid himself of his furry tongue. Gulping the cold fluid quickly, then pushing his head back making it hurt more than before.

Aiming the empty can for the bin but just missed, bashing against the wall. James forced his eyes open, flicked the light switch again, realising even a bigger turmoil mess in the now upside down kitchenette. He could not figure out why?... was this a burglary …but what were they looking for?

James cautiously moved back into the room, switched on a sidelight. What a bloody mess, a real turnover…the bastards, whoever they were. He then instantly checked the front door. No sign of a forced entry, and he should know being in his occupation he was in. A slight noise from inside the main bedroom, alerted him to almost being sober.

Grabbing the first thing at hand, which happened to be an imitation miniature statue of Rodin’s “The Thinker”, silently proceeded, slowly checking every step he made, as you would expect from his disciplined speciality, moving towards his bedroom. Glancing through the ajar door, he entered the doorway of his bedroom.

Prostrate, naked on his king-sized bed, was a young attractive woman, with blood down the side of her mouth, now congealed. There was lots of it being highlighted by the bright yellow silk sheets. There were pools of blood, spread on the rug and carpet, some on the far away wall. It looked as if she had put up one hell of a fight.

She was the very image of the girl in James’s mind since the moment he had come to life…. She was dead…lying motionless, tongue flabbily on the floor…. was his dog

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peter.howden
Bond Note Episode Two

The Guddle
The shock of finding a dead person, has different effects on dissimilar peoples, even those who unfortunately, must deal with such affairs on regular occurrence, never become used to it, except for those mortuary workers, who are a separate breed to the normal.

Unprofessionally this time, James was caught well below par. His built-in immune system was temporary jolted, hitting his confused consciousness in repeating brain transmissions. Breathing in slowly and powerfully through his nose, then releasing the stainless for his mouth, James dealt with what was vital first, could this be an allusion, though experience insisted primarily, it was indeed cold fact.

Then mechanically he checked the whole scene, taking in every piece of data which he made need, when he eventually would have to report to the authorities. Just then a sharp whimpering sound carried through the room. James looked down, witnessing his mutt’s head flinching. Miraculously; within seconds, this robust hound rose from the floor and started shaking itself. Within extra moments, the hound was looking his master, for instructions. James held a hidden smile in relief, and amazement if truth be told

Now he left the murder scene, for precisely this is what it was, he needed to think, and think hard. The switch was all he had contaminated, with finger-prints, in the room. Slowly and precisely, walking backwards towards the door, then wiped clean the smears on the light-switch. The dog seemingly uninterested, just waddled out of the room, as James quietly closed the door over, wondering was it necessary, as it was a sure bet, the female had no ability to go anywhere, even if it was her last wish. Rubbing the door handle, the lock clicked shut, allowing a short relief

Retracing his steps back into the kitchenette, James ignoring the mess, focussed on searching for the electric kettle, then the vital coffee, plus a allusive clean mug. Pouring several large spoonfuls of the strong coffee, plenty of sugar, as the kettle came to the boil. James filled his mug, the antidote and comfort was ready, sat drinking the dark stuff until it was finished. He knew what must be done, before even contemplating calling the law, he must lay to rest old ghosts, making sure he has his facts right. One thing was sure, he must be cautious, at all costs.

The phone rang out shattering the dark…not his mobile but the land line. This as odd, for only two other people knew the number. He let it ring out, but before any message could be recorded, the other side cut off.

Grabbing some tools of his trade, the small trusty pencil torch, two sharp pencils and a pair of fine rubber gloves, along with a couple of small plastic bags and a glass cleaning cloth; he headed for the inevitable investigation, this could not be delayed anymore. Putting on the flimsy plastic gloves he took the soft cloth, wiped the door handle on the outside, then inside, while shutting the inside door behind him, James placed the mini torch in his mouth, stood perfectly still as he pointed the beam towards the deceased, using his head as the pivot.

Very slowly his light scrutinised each line available on her scalp, without disturbing a single hair. There were obvious signs of a struggle, the bed cloths sprawled recklessly across, twisted over the top end of the bed. Cut marks of the mattress, presumably with a sharp instrument, as if someone blindly plunged at the victim. Blotches of blood were sprinkled over the bottom half of the bedding.

The lady of the piece was dark haired, with a beautiful face even in death, though swollen now, around the mouth and eyes, which could suggest some form of suffocation. James’s thought for a moment, recalling a blond girl’s features was on his mind, before and when he woke from his drunken sleep. Abruptly speculating if there was any connection or just a drunken lure.

His professionalism returned quickly, reminding himself, never to jump to ill substantiated conclusions. Saul, his so-called Uncle, would shudder or roll in his grave. While these scattered wires were passing, James face became harder and his thoughts darkened, recalling Uncle Saul… the bath affair.

Out of nowhere, the phone rang again, depriving him of concluding his thoughts or probing the room. It’s ringing loudly, thought James’s, who could not see it in the dark. His reflexes reached for the small dresser, but the furniture was upside down and scattered. Keeping his cool he waved his head around the whole 360 degrees, then up and down. He made a hasty grab for the object and it stopped ringing. An unrecognizable voice, laughing noisily, shouted at the other end. “I guess you have found your little present, from me by now?” … “How could I do this to you, you bastard; I will not tell you any more…just put it down to fate or bad luck”.


James said not a word as the receiver intruder continued “you and that blood thirsty family member of yours, crucified me…Mamma how could you do such a thing… Mamma to me!”

The voice ranted incomprehensibly, then, with a shivering cold giggle; “I have phoned the police…talk yourself out of that; you bastard”. The end of the conversation came abruptly, with a thunderous click from the other end rocketing through the line into James’s ear.

That very next moment, the doorbell rang …right through the whole apartment.

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peter.howden

Bond Note Episode Three;


The short babble

It did not often happen but James froze where he stood. He supposed this would be the police and he knew exactly how they worked. There was no obvious way out of this quandary, as it was certainly something to do with the caller and message he had just received. James had a perturbed relationship with the local police which his chosen profession sometimes warranted.

He had crossed swords before with the neighbourhood constabulary who were inclined to tediously say, “Where there is smoke you will find a fire” though perhaps this time, they would probably jump through hoops of delight, saying ‘Caught at last, hey!’ the bell rang constantly now as he jiggered all the considerations in one moment, concluded it would be better to open the door willingly, rather than having it forcibly broken down.

With the latch on, he opened the door as far as it could go, and tried to look normal, what ever the hell this was, but in his case not to show there was a body… dead to the world, in the very next room.

James almost swore as, into view came the unwelcome mug of, ‘Haud this a minute’ Balgair, the Scottish dirty fox, undisputed head anything criminal or corrupt, in the whole of the city, if not the country. This excuse for a human being is unpredictably dangerous, no hint of what, or how, or whom he will ‘Do’, until he muttered through his tight thin lips, the catchphrase; ‘wait a minute …and then it was too late. Along with two loosely dressed heidbangers, just of the leash, carrying a clumsy, tatty Jack-stand, he mumbled his words, but he always did “I hear there was a hell of a bruhaha coming from your place last night!”.

There was a long pause as James stared at the hefty jack-stand, as Balgair waiting for an apology, or explanation of sorts, but realized none was coming, via the deadly silence.

he added slyly “Don’t rock the boat pal, I like you, I was a bit hurt you never invited me round,your line of work, you must be able to pick the birds…or so it has been said?”. Balgair was a huge mass of muscles, with arms and legs, complete with an odd shaped head, always displaying a kind face, the kind you would love to punch. His manners were less than recommended for a sub species, a devious bastard, but everyone was careful especially when he had a carjack near hand.

James winked saying ‘Private, one on one Balgair, however, the next time, I’ll have your bell rung!’. The reputed hard man looked vexed but muffled “Wait; there is no need to say any more; one on one, wow …you’ve got a way about you!” James abruptly shut the door, before the bloody maniac had time to finish his obvious sentence. Then, standing astride, with his pounding heart and back against the door… James did not move a blinking muscle, but his brain raced around with his growing predicament. He had a unknown dead body, he had a intimidating phone call, on his private phone, threatening police involvement, and now this arsehole, and his cronies with his favoured weapon…a jack-stand.

For a few brief seconds, his mind strayed from the dilemma of the thugs outside, and the body inside, realizing Balgair, was a dinosaur, in respect to the modern man, however, James felt he was probably one too. He still thought of woman as delightful, and if a sexist was wanting a well-dressed woman, wearing high heeled shoes, creating a cute wiggle, then he was certainly the man for that. Long time since he saw a living bra or a Playtex girdle and high times were over though not dreams. Call them naughty if you want but I call them self-preservation, thought James.

Speedily, the image of the flaky, rusty jack-stand, came racing back to govern his brain, vexed with wondering if this was a vicious intimidation stagey ,or was he the next intended victim. The cause of being tarnished…all the times black blood was scrubbed, with a wire brush, from its basic workings.
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peter.howden

Bond Note Episode Four
;

The wee sign

James lost no time resuming his original task, checking the scene holding such a horrible deed, while the lights was off. With his miniature, built-in blue moon system, beamed torch, in his mouth, convinced it was the better way to search for clues, assuming, this murder must have been completed in the dark. A problem arose with the consistency of blood, while the bruising around the mouth, cheeks, and eyes, made it certainly to be some hours old. She had been smothered, but as far as he could detect, not by any of his pillows, which remained unruffled elegant and slinky as silk pillowcases are.

Obviously, the female was slapped around, quite a bit, before being slain, but then again, somehow, all the details did not connect. The slashing or stabbing was all out of concept, of what should have taken place, yet, perhaps the culprit wanted the finders to think. The smell of urine was not present which should have been, if she had met her demise in such a manner. Something was defiantly wrong… with the mouth, the blood on the teeth and gums. He needed a closer examination

Edging towards the unlit chasm, he trips over a heavy object, with his unprotected bare foot, starts leaping around, swearing like a trouper in pain, James tumbled awkwardly, on his side, at the back end of the round bed. He almost swallowed the torch, but managed to spit it out. Landing on the floor, the beam shone squarely on the culprit which caused his unwanted pain. The bloody Thinker statue, which must have fallen, unobserved, when the phone or the door rang.

Picking up the torch carefully examine at a certain angle, staring at the corpse, something caught his eye. An almost minute piece of paper was lodged in the mouth of the misfortunate cold deceased. Carefully, taking the two pencils, working them as chop stick pincers managing to free the paper from the blood-stained teeth. Her lips by this time were blue, while there was a macabre beauty about her face or in fact, the actual body, as it lay unprepared for her maker

No sooner had this delicate operation was completed; the doorbell rang, then impatiently resounded. The bell rang once more. James had good reason to believe this was the officers of the law. The discipline in his training from his chosen occupation, automatically kept him cool, while placing the soiled piece of tattered paper into one of the small plastic bag, shoved it into his back pocket of his, old standby ‘505’ vintage Levi jeans. Removing the gloves, he opened a small drawer, placed all his protective gear into it, then closed it quietly.

There was nothing for it but to open the door, without the latch this time. A well kent, high blood pressure, face of Inspector Andy Clyde, who should have joined the river police, for he was always splashing around, with nowhere to go, certainly lacking imagination. A dour expression minus humour, though what could you expect from someone who had been in the force forever, and well past his sell by date. He was just a tad smidgen short of being a bigot

Gawking into the doorway, was freckled reddish faced plump man, with an old styled hat, if you’re into that kind of thing, a coat almost trailing to the ground. Rolly Polly would be a better description however, his voice hallowed. “Well”; cackled the leading man; ….” I’ve got a warrant to search these premises… I have reasons to believe a foul deed has been committed”.

The Inspector had known James’s Uncle Saul, years back. In fact, they had been constables on the beat together in the early days. Within seconds of waving his little bit of paper; Andy and his team were not only in the door but already searching with hands and eyes.
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peter.howden
My Chronicles 31/03/2017;

Summertime is here, and its official, surprising everyone with simply one blooming smashing start, right on the day right after the clocks went back. Simultaneously, along with such Scottish magic, the Howden household can, at last, relax a little after lingering tensions throughout the past few months. This is mainly due to quite a few important facts.

Firstly; ‘She who must be obeyed’ during last week, via a hospital visit, her Stookie was removed, allowing better agility eased immensely. The first two days apparently felt awkward in an unexpected, simply because the mental annoyance of the forthcoming operation still hovering in the background. Due to Rebecca’s medicine routine, as a major factor, means such an operation of such a calibre must be slightly different than normal. Now, walking is still painful, but certainly not as throbbing l as before, in fact, bearable. Tough girl Rebecca is.

Secondly; Aunt beck is gradually come around, almost to being herself, since before her last distressing visit to the Royal Infirmary, just before Christmas. I am so glad how much I was wrong that her sad isolated state of total unawareness of anything, was there for the rest of her life, Aunt Becky can now vaguely recall some things, other than her time in hospital and its dark aftermath.

The poor wee soul, cannot remember anything after two minutes, on the other hand, her long-time memory can be correct, although mixed up and blending with whimsical stories, bordering imaginatively enlarged. Becky has lost a fair amount of weight, even shrunk slightly below her 4’9”, preferring a basic appetite, consisting for tubs of ambrosia rice, jellies, crisps, and luncheon meat. Still; her red-hot favourite is, a piece (must be Pan bread) and marmalade. I call her ‘Paddington Bear’ although she fails to see the contact. We leave only a couple of rice tubs each day because no matter how many we leave, they are all gobbled up the next morning, with the evidence of empty tubs scattered around her home, some even hidden…wither intentionally with a warped logic of ‘self-preservation’ in mind, or not, we are not sure.

One continuously need is, trying to vary her diet as best we can… but Becky holds the Glasga cunning, planks or disposes of food all around the house. One thing the Cordia (arm’s length home help of Glasgow Council) daily helpers cannot change, because their unrealistic tight schedule, imposed on them, seeing Aunt Becky eating what they may have prepared. Becky has little conversation skills left, reacting more than talking but one thing has stayed static…her inability to concentrate, even reading her beloved books.

For me personally, my near monthly visits down to the west coast, meeting one of my China’s, Mr Jim Henry. We are positively ‘Chalk & Cheese’; Glaswegian and Auld Ayr, but it is a teaser, seeing how long it takes for an Ayrshire man to dip his pocket. Wetherspoon’s is our regular rendezvous, where a few well-earned refreshments flow, along with a variety of near ‘izzy-wizzy’ conversations, assisted with tons of laughter… and dare I say Goon stupidity. Having a few close friends, I treasure my couple of China’s, who keep my feet on the ground… no matter how long between gettogethers.
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peter.howden

Bond Note Episode Five;


The Advice

As the bedroom door flung open…The inspector muttered, “Tut; Tut. What have we here?” Motionlessly, James followed suit with more than a hint of sarcasm; “it’s sad to say, it’s obviously a dead body, but you are the policeman”. This slightly infuriated the policeman, as he inflexibly released information, “I’m sound as a pound, James lad, received from my reliable snitch, a story about a stiff, battered female …and what do you know!”. A note of distain filled the air as he continued “The sex get too rough?”

James tried to reply but the elder plainclothes officer didn’t wait for the answer, closing the door while mumbling to the other policemen. James realized all his trials were about to happen, including a well kent third-degree grilling. Knowing the voice that impeached on him did not help, as he slipped out the tatty piece of paper, from his jeans, carefully opened the tiny parchment. The only writing in bold letters was ‘CUTTY SARK’, followed with nothing except a hand scribbled attempt at ‘direct’. He pondered if he was right keeping such vital evidence.

Placing his arguments into a sense of proportions, he concluded his plain cloths career would allow him to go where the boys in blue could not. Though he would not be sure what he would find, there was little reason not to peruse his own investigation. James stared hard at the name heavily printed in front of him and was lost. All he knew about the clipper Cutty Sark was an old tall ship clipper built in Dumbarton, but berthed down in London. It raced home from Fuzhou in China carrying valuable cargo, fighting against the wild South China seas and over 16,000 miles.

Why here in Glasgow, would a foreign woman hid such a slip…even to her death He had worked out the deceased was not Scottish; perhaps somewhere from the Mediterranean. Her skin texture was the tell-tale sign, even with by means of tanning shops everywhere, no Glaswegian skin could deliver such a deep natural colour. Her makes up; though smudged and hardly detectable, was classy creations, being in the pink of health for a beaten corpse. In his occupation, it helped to notice small things quickly, even when… or especially when, under pressure.

Where did this all fit in with a gruesome murder? Who did such a horrific deed and why place the evidence in his bedroom? warning footsteps coming towards the door, as James swiftly folded the evidence, slipped it into the ticket pocket of his ‘505s’.

The pompous detective returned with a sly smirk on his face. “Of course, its early days, however, it appears this poor soul did not die here” said the cop with a knowing voice, then carried on as if giving a lecture to students, while another officer took James’s fingertips; “I know the body was planted here, doubtless to get you into hot water”. He stopped for several moments to pay particular attentions to James face, trying to catch a reaction, then followed with a sarcastic tone; “Someone’s got it in for you…Retribution from one of your customers…hey?”

Before James could reply, the dour man in blue, swiftly concluded “You do know the only reason I do not take you to the station, is because my admiration for your late uncle; ‘salt of the earth’ and a valued friend”. “Do you know” he stopped for a moment then continued “of course you do, after all he was your uncle, but straight as a die, and fists like sledgehammers…he is well missed!”.

Andy was as stiff as a crowbar and usually just as demonstrative. “Your uncle wanted you in the force, but being pig headed, you decided to go private, I reckon this hurt him for a while but deep down he was proud of you” Andy said this in a gruff manner but almost sounded human. James knew Andy respected his Uncle but was a tad feart of him, yet Saul helped Andy through the ranks. Saul refused promotion, he just liked the Glasgow streets. His last beat had been city centre and the Broomielaw.

“We have more lab work to carry out and if I can, I will give some information to you” Andy moved towards the crime scene room “What psychopathic bastard did this? He must have hated woman; he made one hell of a mess to her body, in some pathetic frenzy after she was dead?”

Before the door could close, the back to grumpy senior policeman whispered, “Don’t stray far from Maitland St doors…please don’t think of leaving the city”
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peter.howden
Bond Note; Episode Six

The Whiff

Feeling reasonably safe, he headed going out the flat, picking up his leather jacket, then closing the main door behind him. A sigh of relief eased the heavy load from his shoulders which had been planted there by the few hours of craziness. He had no control over those happenings, however now he felt a sense of burden from incoherent events as he headed for the stairway.

The neighbouring door creaked open and there stood the big, sometimes frightening figure of C-dale, built like a horse with just as much brains. He was one of the old mob, always useful as muscle in big jobs, a self-proclaimed villain, having told all and sundry, his intention of going straight, but the truth was cruel, being ‘Institutionalized’ between villainy and marking time in ‘Riddle Hilton’, anyway the younger team where now in town, no longer wanted such mayhem he could bring.

He had often squawked to James about the up and coming team, having no respect, disgusted with how now someone got smacked, for the price of a few grains of coke, in fact, he would add, almost indignantly, you could lose your legs for a sniff or two. . “No pride in their work” he was heard to quote, to anyone who wanted to listen, “not like in the old days”. Such is Crème de la crime.

Several times, being stoned on the bevvy, C-dale rabbited on about his dark murky past, resulting James having a sense of unease. The tales of being “dubbed up” in Victorian built correction lock ups, coupled with criminal scruples, although insisting he was impatient to be baptised, a urgent need for forgiveness and God. James always told the deluded man, desperately to be religious, “hell don’t go there?”

“Where are you going, need hauders?” the big bulk grunted, almost pleading as James passed past. Pretended to think about it and then quietly said “C-dale, you would be more helpful if you would look after the place, let me know who comes up the stairway”. “O.K… are you up for it”, James asked, a definite smile crossed over C-dale’s powerful square jaw. He gave the thumbs up as James headed down the stairway.

Out into the wet street and round into Saltmarket. his head was stuffed full and he needed refreshment. Passing the pub on the Corner of Glasgow Cross he denied himself entry, turned, then contemplating walking along the Trongate. His mouth was still like a waste pipe, when crossing over London road, past Mercat Bidg, then under Gallowgate bridge to the old café opposite Schipka Pass. He was known as a regular in the cosy place, for he deliberately seldom cooked in his flat. With just a nod, the proprietor knew exactly his wishes as he sat down at the very back of café.

Engrossed within his own enigma; he failed to whiff chanty wrassler Harry; who unexpectedly, was sitting next to him, the aroma was unmistakable. Concerned about saving energy, James often using deodorant, on one armpit at a time. because of global warming; but bowffin Harry just did not wash. Nicknamed ‘dirty Harry’, for obvious reasons though most of the neighbourhood didn’t trust him, he was a snake in the grass for the pollis, or anyone who would pay him.

Before James could get one word in, Harry was up his nose…. after looking under the table and twice at the door uttered these words “I heard you have a stiff”. Slinking back into his seat, screwing his hawk like eyes, completed the sentence with “Do you want to know where she works?” James grabbed the pathetic excuse for a human being, then hauled him dangerously near “listen muppet –how can she work when she is dead?” …. “You’re so right Mr James, but do you want to know where she did work.” Harry anxiously realized James was not sold on the idea of talking to him, quickly added “I’m brassic, but your Uncle always played square with me so I do not want a penny for the information, but when it is all over, just tell the big man, you know, how I helped you…. Is it a deal?”

Relaxing his grip, James let go of the minging collar, pulling far away from Harry as the bolted seats would allow. Now sweating profusely, the nyaff said in a very low tone; “” Witch’s Club…Under the Central Station arches….…Left in Midland Street”. James heard a noise at the back of him, turned around to see nothing. Turning back, the numptie was gone, like a thief in the night, stealing the thoughts and dreams of the elderly.” but he left a hovering bouquet; the whiffy order.

James moved table’s when served with a sausage sandwich, and extra strong mug of coffee, without any hint of sugar. He felt uncomfortable such a wee clatty bugger like Harry, should suggest he was on friendly terms with Uncle Saul. But James knew in his heart it was not so; however, Saul dealt with all forms of life, as did James now… so…. it should not be a surprise.
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peter.howden
Bond Note Episode Seven

The Keek;


An eruption of unabated raw memories flooded back regarding the disappearance of Uncle Saul, which, at the time, every Glasgow policeman swore to be foul play, however, could not uncover one ounce of gen to help. It was as if the earth opened without grace, swallowing him without trace. The entire mucky underworld, from centre and beyond the boundaries of greater Glasgow, had lost their tongues. Even low life Harry, or any of his kind; kept silent on this. Strangely it was the first-time Harry had mentioned the uniformed bobby’s name to James.

Nearly thinking aloud, James knew it was a bit early for ‘Witches’. Gulping the last remains of the mug before taking his cutlery down to Tony, then reach into his pocket to pay. Toni was an Italian Glaswegian, whose café was a little gold mine, especially with the trade from the Barra’s at the week-end. Gesturing to James how there was no need for money, however he insisted on paying, remembering one piece of solid advice Saul gave him; “Never beholden to anyone in this job Jamie”. Uncle Saul was the only person to call him so, as it was a brigand character from Saul’s favourite film; ‘The Black Swan’.

Leaving the café, James decided to pay a courteousy call to the Wee Red Shop, in the middle of the Barra’s. The all-purpose shop, owned by Hammy originally from Pakistan… though like Tony, more Glaswegian than most people who stayed within the accepted boundaries. It’s not because they had been in the city since god knows when, but more how they developed into the culture of their surroundings. Hammie often joked going for a sun bed, as he was only called a black bastard twice in one day, and he was frightened he was fading.

James never knew Hammie’s real name, never gave it a second thought, as anywhere important. Hammie was no fool; in fact, studied to be a lawyer, having ambitions becoming a judge. Somewhere near 1958, the political scene drastically changed, dismissing the Constituent Assembly. He would tell how his country failed democracy, becoming a nigh permanent dictatorship. He could not agree with the political climate and his life was at risk, so fled, choosing Scotland; staying here ever since. He knows the dirty side of Glasgow, the one the tourist don’t see.

The Wee Red Shop was on the corner of Kent Street being a busy place at week-ends, however, through mid-week there was always a time heavy on the hands. With a beaming smile, showing white teeth broken by a gold tooth or two, Hammie stood behind the battered counter. After polite nods, James asked if he had heard of anything going on.

His answer was a direct “Naw” but it was certain he had been informed of James’s predicament. Any dark news went around quicker in ‘Saltmarket’ than in Barlinnie. In the establishment of correction, the cons know the score before the screws, sometimes before the court sends the misfortunates down. Hammie was looking sympathetic, adding “Listen James; something is bound to happen with the weird cases you take on”

James could do nothing but nod in agreement. “I owe a favour or two, your Uncle was a gentleman, never tried to huckle me like some of the other bastards I could mention”. Hammie stopped for a moment to concentrate how to say the next line. “The dead body is all tied up with your Uncle’s disappearance… if I were you, I would look no further than the Carrick”.

James took a few moments to think how nothing had been uttered in three whole years or so, but in one hour, Uncle Saul’s name comes up thrice. Looking hard at Hammie, who seemed to read his thoughts and quickly butted in, “Look James; you and I know each other for some time and there is nothing more I can say apart from Black Tam.” With this the conversation was over as Hammie did not wait for any reply, making his way down to the basement, shouting up when reaching the bottom, “Good luck James!”.

He tumbled down towards the cross. Like almost all city dwellers of Glasgow, James knew many souls who could be classified as “Tam the Bam” and many unsavoury characters deemed as black or maukit. So, what is this clue “Black Tam” …and why the ‘Carrick’, since the tattered piece of paper marked ‘Cutty Sark’
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peter.howden
Bond Note Episode Eight;
The Vault

Cutting his way down to the Clyde, through old Bridgegate; passing close to the berth for the Carrick sailing ship, wondering what this prodigious time piece was involved in this paradox James concentration was erratic at best, unable to vanquish the tragic figure of the blond beauty incarnate, in his mind. Her face cemented there, from the moment he pulled out from his self-induced trip away from reality.

James, felt he had no problem with alcohol, others may disagree by quoting how strong drink punishes the body if not the soul. James had a slightly different slant, which was, virtue is its own punishment while vice is its own reward. Perhaps someone quoted this to him, or he read it but when he could, he stood by it.

Walking along the Broomielaw at the river side James passed heaps and piles of small stones, sands, grit, shingles, and earth, sitting like small pyramids right along to Commerce Bridge and beyond. He tried to make sense of it all which proved impossible because he could not get the blond girl out of his mind. He thought of a few it should have been… but the dead girl…no.

In Midland Street, under a major railway bridge, connected to the Central station. belonged to British railway, was the ‘Witches’ entry, though empty of people, far too early for clique ravers. ‘Witches’ front was a large arched wooden frame had heavy cast iron hinges. At the right side was a small instep door which happened to be slightly ajar. Carefully opening the door, though could not avoid causing chilling creaking, magnified by the arched brick acoustic acting as an amplifier. Would this warn the occupants been warned? thought James while entering the dicey cellar, for the timber gate, itself showed signs of being battered and bruised….and very recently

While unannounced, it took a few moments to adjust his eye sight from the sudden brightness, from a multitude of deliberately placed fluorescent strip lightings, predominant lionizing whiteness. These affected white garments including girl’s undergarments, to stand out, or seemingly disappear in some instances. Inside was small, for once the live group was playing, few could follow but hordes did by all accounts. It was deemed the hottest venue about, jumping as they called it, but now it lay in deadly silence.

Moving cautiously towards a single bright light, right at the back of the brick curved cave, a pleasant perfume wafted in James nostrils. He reckoned the cologne was familiar…and recently. Through his dehydrating pupils, he now saw such an Aphrodite, his fantasy dreamt goddess, of previous night.

His eyes hypnotically trailing every bit of her alluring face, innocently full of enchantment. Her petite frame would put shame to any model, or gorgeousness of any fine portrait paining from the old masters, persuading his heart to pounded beyond control, almost bound by invisible chains of deep desire. James moved forward

Her perfect mouth opened, calling “Who the hell are you?” and before he could burp out any answer, she carried on, in a cranky vocal not suit her appearance; “Are you here to see the boss, Charlie…he knows everything that’s going on?” Disappointedly James was reduced to a nod. Wiggling her finger, as in a come over gesture, the un-named goddess, waddled towards the door some feet away, motioned him to enter. James struggled to pass the lady without brushing against her, she leaned further forward, and whispered, “I want to see you before you go; don’t tell Charlie?” James’s heart pounded once again, close to being painful.


Sitting, more like squatting behind a walnut wooden desk, was a tubby man, in an ill-fitting suit covering an unfit body. A large cigar, flaked in a white marble ashtray, whilst he sipped whisky out of a crystal glass. “I heard you were looking for me, so, what can I do to help you?” This was said in a mocking menacing way, failing to conceal his true meaning. “Excuse me James; its James is it not…where are my manners for I have heard you like a drink or two, this golden liquid is, in the Gaelic, ‘Tears of Angels’… would you care…naw…What is your pleasure?” All this was spoken in one dull annoying tone from someone who lacked a personality. The big desk was to keep people at bay.

Refusing any alcohol, James asked how ‘he’ knew him since they never had met. From the corner of his mouth, one toned man spoke “We have someone in common, you and I, as I knew your Uncle…by the way, how long has been he has been gone?” Again, before James could reply this unpleasant man added

“A few people I have never crossed words with, just vanished unnoticed… yet, I find it hard to bare of pain when my very good friends disappeared…funny that isn’t it?” A raw threat, but James saw the man as he truly was, a petty cheap villain, who obviously had the money to buy muscle. ‘It bought no style!’ James thought, with some grudging comfort “No hard feelings now; but remember, just because you know a few powerful citizens and you talk to the real big man, this will not protect you from some accident…now come on be a lovely man and just forget the whole thing?”

Charlie stopping to breath, lifting his generous glass, taking a slug. Preventing saying what he really thought, swallowing hard to ask, “Look Charlie…Can I call you Charlie (a proper one, James silently thought to himself, but very dangerous) could you tell me who is the dead girl in my flat?”

Giving Charlie a spluttering cough, smearing is double chin, then uttering slowly “She did work for me some time ago but as far as I have been told, she left some nine months ago and apart from that…. I’m as wise as you” Before one more moment had passed, the uncomfortable boss had rung a hidden bell and the door of his office opened wide, by a brutish thug. “Just get smart mate” bellowed the human tank.
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peter.howden
Foretastes of a 60s adolescent

SPOTTED EGGS;

From the 15th century Glasgow Green onwards, the fair green city is famed for many public Parks. Personally, renowned amid the throng, is Queens Park. It is the park-keepers I remember, though one personality stood out from the rest. He was quite tall and very old, though this cannot be an accurate gauge, as the Queens park gang were newly fledged teenagers, so… most people were described of being ancient. A mixed bunch of lassies and lads, experiencing complex etchings of passions, at the fringes of sex, discovering the rough boundaries, but not quite sure how to work out the principles

Meeting religiously at the benches adjacent from the tennis courts, happily drinking Sugarollie-water, or soak a ‘orange jubbly’ out of a triangle carton, or eating blood spicy ‘Pomegranates’, if they were in season. We thought we knew it all, but what did we know of the world, though, like almost all adolescents, having opinions and theories, believing they were original…and unique.

Our very own Park patrol man, taking extra pride in his appearance, with pressed trousers, white shirt and tie, and army polished boots, displaying attributes of being the head park keeper in this park. His name was never known to us, though we nicknamed him… ‘Crystal ball’. Other parkies had epithets like “Poky, for obvious reasons, Grimbel (could never figure out why) and Lumpy… but ‘Crystal ball’ was our main adversary.

You see; he always managed to be there, where we were if we were playing somewhere the some grass, which displayed a sign informing no one could walk on this sacred green, or kicking around a football, where balls could not be kicked according to the sign; “No ball games”. . At the tennis court, he must have installed radar for inevitable he would snip us having a free round on the red court. He would appear from nowhere or so we thought. He must have the ability to merge into the scenery, as a human Chameleon, changing his shape, or colour… or both, owning one thing helping him blend in with the background… was his rubber green coat
.
As a group of friends, we always met at the benches, just aside of the small museum, right in front of the fenced tennis courts, simply because of the huge row of seats, so… no matter how many peoples were out of a summer night, we could always grab a bench for ourselves. We knew the secret of high living. This is where we planned our dodges and events for that evening, truly be certain of… we were the cat’s whiskers.

The only trouble was “Crystal Ball” who would jump up from wherever and order us on. We had no choice as his word was law as he could affectively bar all from the park. As far as memory serves, he always carried a pair of binoculars which we thought he used to spy on us or any ‘winching couple’ just to have the satisfaction in breaking up the fun. Reluctantly we move on until safe enough to shout some minor suggestions to ‘Crystal ball’ …and make a bee line to the safety of Hill 60.

Hill 60 was famous before our time, for the battle of Langside; adjacent on the main road where a monument stands, saluting the fray of 1568 which last all of 45 minutes. This coincides with the world-renowned football stadium Hamden, just over the brae, where Scotland and England clash for ninety minutes in national soccer Hearing the “Hamden Roar”, while sitting on the hill, tells you who indeed has scored…Scotland of course.

Being at the top on Hill 60, gave the gang added advantage, because the parkies defiantly did not want to climb, anyhow, we could see them coming no matter in what direction. Somehow, we found out the secret of our foe, ‘Crystal ball’, was chick observer (not the Glasga girl), but along with his binoculars looking at nests and being a total twitchier.

Like a lot of greens around. Glasgow, Queens Park has a model boating pond, however alongside, is a natural setting for ducks and swans, with a personal pool away from the gaze of the public. Crystal ball had been observed creeping through this fenced undergrowth in search for rare birds and of course keeping safe their eggs.

Someone came up with the idea, it would be fun, to place a few homemade eggs in a isolated nest. We stole some smallish brown eggs from Kelvin’s Mum’s house, because she bought specially from somewhere in the country, being minor than the ones stamped with lions on them. We boiled them up inside two bright yellow socks, pinched from somewhere. After this, painted specks in an uninformed way around the hard shell, later coated them with clear varnish.

Very early one Saturday morning, two of us crept into the man mad sanctuary, mixing some twigs in the straw we brought, then carefully placing the foreign eggs in the nest, almost hidden from view. Right enough, although it took longer than expected, our foe took the bait, as great excitement was well apparent by this man. It seemed every chance he got, he was goggling through his eyepiece at his discovery.

Wild speculation was afoot as to what they were but everyone agreed; whatever bird laid these was rare. Then things sort of moved out of hand. We learnt through the grapevine he had told his boss and in turn he had informed the halls of power in the parks department in George square. An extra fence was placed around the whole area and each day of passing, increasingly people came to be spectators.

Now this is where I wonder how experienced birdwatchers did not realize no bird took any interest in these foreign eggs but the ritual was kept going for a couple of weeks to almost a fever pitch.
We were not there but apparently, someone tried to pinch one, then the whole charade became known. It was said ‘Crystal balls’ was given some stick from his superiors, who I guess were really embarrassed about being shown up.

From then on he kept a eagle eye on us all the time and there was signs he knew it was us who set him up The only consolation we had was… ‘Crystal balls’ never saw this coming.

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peter.howden

My Chronicles 20/04/2017;


One thing certainly striking when entering the abode belonging to Aunt Becky, she is defiantly shrinking before our very eyes. The wee soul is now lost, bewildered in her easy chair, also finding it pragmatic, rising from her seat. Yet…even though Becky has certainly been through the physical, and medical hard times, she appears to be quite contented, just sitting reading her precious books, while, now and then, glancing through the window to watch her feather friends, feeding from a peanut dispenser.

However, with a closer look, it’s clear how her concentration has gone for a burton, with news rags and books scattered around, like a paper moat, surrounding her portcullis, keeping her safe, no need for any blunderbuss, or the likes. Becky’s attention wavers repeatedly, within just a minute or two, reading the same paragraph she has read just minutes before. Her wee stories have become more elaborate and muddled, though Becky beams with great delight recalling them. We both take countless pleasure, rattling around my old jalopy, singing the ‘Scottish Tartan Top Twenty’, through the country roads around Kilpatrick hills. Pure dead brilliant.

Last night, while searching my personal drawer for something or other, I came across a small Vaseline tin, which instantly produced memories of our daughter Toni.I had saved this special item because it was the last thing Toni, had asked me to buy, on her last unexpected evening in hospital, fighting against cancer. Although I had purchased the item on the way home…I missed my intentions, for our eldest daughter died the next morning. My egotistic pain is…we never managed to say goodbye

Since the brutal event, the constant household Saturday meeting, around the old kitchen table, has played a vital part in a sort of recovery. Most times, the sorrow is not mentally draining, but having comfortable recollections from a wide range of memories she bestowed in all my family.

My personal memories are drawn for some strange origins, such as, while washing dishes, my awareness reproduces the same action happening in Leiden; Netherlands, while Rebecca and I stayed in the flat occupied by Toni’ and her main man Fergus.

Last night, washing the late supper dishes, staring out the kitchen window, masking the domestic drudgery, as my hands become blotchy red, and wrinkled, for forgetting to put on rubber gloves. I notice miss lady Blackbird is back in the garden, fluffing and pruning her dull brown plumages, then showing her tail feathers for the attention of Mr slinky Blackbird. High up the tree outside (where else would a big bloody tree be?) two magpies have set up home. by the sounds made, it is only the female arranging the nest when the male returns, she begins to squawk as if to say…” you’ve flown around most of the night, without bring back a morsel of food… and not even a twig to add to the nest!’

With this; Mr Magpie decides to fly away…on the sauce all night I would not wonder!
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peter.howden
Bond Note Episode Nine

The Chancer

James left wishing he had clouted the big moron, but resisted this naïve thought as forcing an uncertain outcome. One certainty, he did not like Charlie. He had witnessed Charlie’s likes, in Liverpool, Manchester, and Hull. These small-time criminals, seeing themselves with characteristics of ‘Edward G Robinson’ in Little Caesar, while floating in vile wee empires, built on street wars. Based on raw intimidation…there is nothing to admire about their crude terror,

Now back in the dingy darkness, a sudden familiar fragrance wafted from a small snug in the darkest corner of the deserted club. Sitting on a high stool, precariously sat Aphrodite, tantalizingly beckoning him into her lair. Squeezing through the limited space, James saw her face up close, an altered picture from his previous night’s dream. The features were the same, but her eyes were wide open, a dread expression sank deep into pools of emptiness. The frightened female spoke soft and low, “Listen…the dead girl was Annette; don’t know her second name, but she was smuggled in from Minsk through the black trade”.

Abruptly she stopped rabbiting, listening intently out for a noise, any noise. Once assured there was no one else around, she carried on, this time slower as if to clarify; “She was originally from Albania and refused to play ball or take the drugs; silly bitch?” “I gave your Uncle some information, before he departed which might have gotten him dead?”. “I was there yesterday, to keep you company, because Charlie thought it would be an amusing idea, framing you for murder, while elimination of a stupid bitch”.

Just for a instance, her face changed, showing puzzlement, a hint of sadness as if she was confessing all to James.” I want out and I’m thinking you’re the only person that can help and hell no; I’m not talking to the police…no bloody way… you’ve got true connections to who I want to own up too”. Before she could continue, or for James to ask who, or whom she meant, a loud commotion came from deep inside the darkness.

Tersely she made to flee but gave one more piece of gen, “I will meet you after tonight’s work, outside the Peoples Palace about one”. No further words before disappearing safely into the ladies’ loo.

Striding out the doorway, James doubled checked if anyone was following him, or looking out to see where he was going, before he vanished around the corner of Jamaica Street. He stopped at Paisley’s shop window, checking once again if anyone was behind him. This was now becoming murky, having heard of the black trade before, knowing it stood for twin trades, slavery, and drugs. Most people imagined slavery had died out long ago, but it was rife in all major cities in Europe. Now James was in real shit, holding onto vital information which would help law in a murder investigation.

James calmly thought of what evidence did he have? A chancer of a crime boss, going out of his way to threaten me. A girl stuck his head, but didn’t know her surname. A troubled dreamboat wants to confess to her part in the black trade. I’ve to believe she suddenly wishes to meet after mid night to make a clean breast of things. It’s all losing threads to the picture, with no substance, except it must be a trap arranged by her slimly boss.

Uncle Saul was a film buff, always quoting from his favourite lines in old movies. One such quote was in the ‘Sign of four’ Sherlock Holmes quoting; “when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. But James’s problem was. He knew… all was possible.
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peter.howden
Bond Note Episode Ten;

The Nidge

There is an old superstitious remedy, if you had been bitten by a rabid mutt,‘ a hair of the dog’ legendarily was the cure, but in James’s case it was slimy Charlie bite, so calling for a ‘hauf and hauf’ was first on the cards, turning the corner at the Clyde to come across Vintners pub. This establishment was well kent for the ‘Pink Pound’, and although he had nothing against this community of society…. right now, he would rather give it a miss. His mind was clearing as he passed Paddy’s Market, heading for the Old Ship Bank Vault. Cathy was the cute lady who ran this hostel, where he could always count on a happy smile, along with a refreshment.

“You look as if the cat dragged you in, perhaps you should be at the next corner to the mortuary; who is she this time? or can’t you remember? Downing his half in a split second, James pitiably reacted with agony taking lodgings in his vocals. “It’s much worse!”. “I know” replied the ample built woman, in a motherly way. “Just for the record her name was Annette” James almost in an apologetic way, uncomfortable in his head, being swamped by endless streams of excuses why it should have not happened to him. Self-pity can destroy reason.

“Kath; I do not know for certain if I had any” ……Cathy put her fingers up to his lips, preventing him continuing; “Listen you idiot, it’s not how you dress that calls the man, but what’s inside… so bloody butt out this self-indulgence and work out where you go from here” insisted Cathy, with a friendly sincere smile she kept for just him. There and then, James decided to keep the midnight appointment, on the slim chance the girl was telling the truth, and she really needed help. Another of Uncle Saul’s sayings, was to always do the right thing. This will please the people who are important to you, and, just as importantly, astound others. “Thanks Kath; you always know what to say to me, purgative my soul, and believe me, it needs cleansed; often!”.

Stopping at the doorway leading on to Saltmarket, James turned to ask just oft the peg, “What do you know of Charlie who owns Witches?” Cathy’s usual cheery disposition changed, grimly warning “Don’t be messing with him; please James”, she asked almost begging, adding straight away, “You’re bloody good at what you do, but he is black, blacker than any blackness”. Showing sheer contempt, Cathy continued, “He fanatically believes being a direct descendent to the Royal Stuarts… uncontrollably brutal, second only to that bampot Tam!”. ““What’s Tam’s surname?” James asked searching for the elusive extra clue. “Sorry… I do not know, no one knows as he revels in the Black Tam persona. I reckon he is the original bam and to evil to be a heedcase… Everything they touch is putrid”.

James closed the swing door, entering the wet street with intentions of heading home. Again, his apprehension over how Saul’s disappearance was involved in all this, and why Tam’s name keeps coming up. Wait a minute, James thought, your miles ahead of yourself, and as Simon and Garfunkel advise in their song –slow down you move to fast. He planned to rest up for a few hours then keep his lose appointment with his mysterious blond. My; she is a honey is she not, was a consoling consideration in all this big mess.

Before he had a chance to turn into Osborne Street, the old Jewish tailor, from across the top of Saltmarket, came chasing over the traffic, shouting “Hey there you old camshank; I’ve a message for you” By the time Duman reached James, the Rumpole of cloth cutters was well out of breath, with his trusty tape measure wrapped around his neck. Gasping for breath, he spluttered out “some heavy gangster asking around the Cross if anyone had seen you! They came into my shop I knew who they were, but I changed the subject by trying to sell them something”. “Are you in trouble…. again?” the B-spoke shop keeper inquired, with more than a measure of anxiety.

“It’s all right but thanks for the warning” James smiled. The warm hearted elderly man was a character around the place but heck, almost everyone around Glasgow Cross was one. James decided to call in on another, named Dirty Dick’s, who ran a flea market in Schipka Pass. Dirty Dick may give the appearance of being on the skids, but you would travel far to find a shrewder guy. He patiently listened to James’s lengthily explanation, then spoke softly; “Listen you daft pratt, no one around here believes any rubbish of you being involved… you are being Sergeant Saul’s nephew and all, puts the lid on it… but you are with some dangerous people, so watch out.” “You may believe you have a guardian angel but he can’t always be about”.

Dick drew his breath as he attempted to drag a dowt, almost till it burnt his fingers, whispered “Keep Frank close, he might be a loony parrot, but being as big as John Wayne, and twice as strong, so stick near… you know he thinks you are God… and the sun shines out your arse”. Dick who always wore patent dance shoes, to keep one step ahead of any dancing going on, then winked, took, and shook, James hand warmly, let loose his business calling, “Knickers down; half price”. James grinned slightly, then left to go home.
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peter.howden
Bond Note Episode Eleven

The Eejit

The accumulation of these strange haunting words, from both eccentrics, buzzed around James mind as he clammered up the twisted flight of steps leading to his penthouse suite. Near breathless reaching the top story, there was an eerie stillness decontaminating the air, floating like a silent echo, alerting James to something being wrong…very wrong as he reached the last steps.

On the stairway, he observed Frank’s door suspiciously ajar. A light tap opened into the interior, showing a lightbulb hanging from a bare flex, swinging like a pendulum, spasmodically lighting up weary shadows in the room. It took no great detective work, stepping into the small flat , to realize some great struggle took place. The meagre furniture, squashed into the room, was smashed beyond recognition. The simple reason for the swinging light fitting, a gale blowing through the smashed window behind ripped curtains

In the corner of the ill fitted dinjy apartment, lay the battered body of ‘big Frank’, lifeblood melted on his head. Feeling for a pulse on the man’s massive neck, much relieved to find one as Frank’s eyes slowly opened, flickering as he tried to open his mouth to talk, but failed causing blackish blood oozing out. Checking once more the beaten body was indeed alive, James quickly ran to Frank’s front door, planning to phone for help from his own flat. Hearing someone come into the wally close, he leaned over the staircase, shouting down to whoever it was, to phone for the ambulance/police, in a frantic course voice.

A gooeyness feeling on his hands forced James too look and see both were covered in manky blood. Borne from his profession, automatic reaction came into play, he slowly looked around to notice blotches of blood all over the tile work leading to his flat, and plasma clotted on the banister opposite, but far more worrying …. his door was half agape. Moving forward, with due caution, slightly easing the door open, squeezing his way into the hallway, vigilantly considered what may be in the main room.

James had no furniture to block his view, though the venetian blinds dulled the area considerably. The lights from the close etched forward as he deliberately opened the front door to full potential, revealing the true horror unfolding in front of his now staring eyes. A large pool of decaying blood lay on the linoleum floor which chilled him, though instinctively and methodically made his way towards the open kitchen area, witnessing droplets of blood still dripping, splashing constantly, almost made him grinned his teeth

Hanging from his old-fashioned pulley, was the body of a woman, her head slumped lifeless, with dark blood mixed with her dyed blond hair. Her throat had been cut from one end to the other. It was too obvious she was way beyond help and defiantly dead……gave James the near boak

Acting as a warning to his senses, a weak amour of a recent perfume, intruding in his nostril. James knew this to be the poor bloody limp body of his dream…. now a nightmare. Who could be responsible for such a diabolical bloodbath act against life. He reached to help the soul down from where it must have known frichtsome agony and suffering

Out of nowhere, all hell broke loose as James was forced against the wall nearest the door. His rage exploded as protruding arms reached to shackle him and a bonny elbow forced his napper to remain motionless but intimidated. Through the dark abyss, came the well kent voice of the blatherskite, Inspector Urquhart. “Carved and hung like a goose!” was the first sour unfeeling words spoken by the haughty detective “I supposed you will tell me this to be a trap, but… from where I stand …. you have no proof”

The strong arm of the law holding him strapped against the wall, released its grip, allowing James the ability to turn his head and confront such a smirking face. “It is all right James; I saw you come in for my men surrounded the building after a tip off”. “Lucky for you is it not?”. James did not want to talk but like a child’s runaway choo-choo train, his voice clacked off the rails “Unlucky for the poor girl I would say, pity you were not a bit earlier... while youse lot were sipping the dregs of coffee before you came?” It was unlike him to be scathing but the ghoulish happenings forced such reaction.

James was fuming, inwardly angry at such waste of life, yet selfishly could not help but wonder why this shit happened again. It proved one thing, the girl was ready to talk and that bastard Charlie and his cronies were to blame. The assembled constables cut down the lifeless body, laying it on the special body bag for such occasions. The head rolled to the side as if one more desperate effort to contact the living. A small piece of paper, washed out amongst the bad dirty blood, from the petite, but blue mouth. James slowly knelt, so not to draw attention, grasped the sodden note from the canvas, dipping it into his pocket.

Andy, the bawbag shouted, “Hey wait a minute”, moving closer towards James; “what were you doing with Charlie Stuart, I would have thought he was not in your bag, even with the low life scum you associate with? you keep coming up with dead bodies so watch you aren’t next!”. James stayed close to the wall, at angles to this so-called detective, for he knew he would not have a wing of a prayer, if Andy spotted the blood smudging his pocket. “Just trying to make sense of it all” said James coolly though not used to direct lying however the situation warranted it.

Andy taunted with a scunner in his voice “You’re not a patch on your uncle, and I don’t like you, with this bloody goody; goody attitude…you could have followed him into the force but you wanted to go private, so leave all the detection to me”. James dander rose and he could do nothing but retort “As my grandfather used to say; if we all liked the same thing, the whole world would fancy yer granny”. James also thought silently, the dobber could not detect a whiff of a smell in a barrel full of farts.

The head investigator signalled his team to wind up the processes to carry on down at the lab. The body, without ceremony, zipped up and taken away with all the intruders following.
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peter.howden

Bond Note, Episode Twelve


The Plowter

Making his way out of the close, James felt guilty with his unprofessional actions, but now it was personal, by conjecture he knew who was responsible…the elusive “Black Tam” located somewhere near the ‘Mercat’. He headed for the Royal Infirmary, in a taxi. Passing over the ‘Bell o the brae’, he took time carefully to dry, unravel the piece of paper rescued from the dead girl’s mouth. The message; bold and clear, was ‘CUTTY SARK’ the same as the first one.

Frank lay obviously uncomfortable due to his oversize and the bed being normal, which could not be said about his appearance. They really worked him over, thought James, as Frank made every attempt to raise himself from his confinement, failing…then slumping painfully back to where he started. Struggling to make a smile, then very soft whisper, he apologized for not protecting James’s interest.

His voice strengthened “The old Jacob of a tailor warned me about some bad Puggies!” he smirked, adding, “Up the flat, a knock on the door, a hammer chibbed on the heid, stoatered by heavy blows to the belly…Ma napper hurts… be as sound as a pound the morra?” He continued, “Pokes of bad stuff on the streets, being flogged tae punters all over place… the whisper its being stashed down the Clyde Side somewhere”. With tremendous endeavour Frank made a final statement; “I bet it’s got something to do with that English bastard Tam something, a Toerag of the first order”. “By the way; I’ll be all right by tomorrow” and with this, he crumbled into a deep painkiller sleep.

Something with the big man being tongue tied clicked in James’s mind as he took out the scrap of paper once again. For no apparent reason, James recalled his school days of Burns readings and how the Bard had helped him in his hours of need whilst being incarcerated in Bar-L. Then, like a bat out of hell it struck him, “Tam O Shanter” It was all in this most gallus verse…. “Tam-O-Shanter”; repeated James correcting himself. Still rather scattered brained, he concluded he need a library close was the Stirling Library, in Royal Exchange Square.

While on the hoof, James recited several lines from forgotten school days’ readings, from the rare pen of Scotland’s greatest Bard. Not to fouter, it was now essential to search through past and present maritime records identifying ships of the line at custom house.

James’s had made a quick phone call before leaving the library, for Hammy and Dirty Dick to be int the Italian café. An hour or so later, James was drookit. but well pleased arriving at the café under the Gallowgate Bridge. The place was packed with hordes of bodies, avoiding the rain cleaning the dirty streets of this fair green city. Wasting no time, he explains the information dug out from data available in Stirling Library, then success from the custom House Records.

Oddly, within the hustle of the hoachin snack bar, they gave the impression not to notice ‘Harry the snitch’, squatting within ear shot, but even more strangely, they failed to inhale the minging waff which always accompanied this, escapee from the cludgie, wee nyaff.

James softly began, “Now both of you are clear about the plan, timing is of the essence as Sherlock Holmes would say”. Dirty Dick offered caution “James, you seem to take this as a game…. these vicious bastards would think nothing of feeding you to the fish”. Hammy nodded in agreement as he added “Look, I’m with you all the way, but these scums are heavy, really heavy… and your big guy, are not getting any younger!”.

James eyes turned cold, “I am sure these two beauties are responsible for Uncle Saul’s disappearance”, almost choking with built up emotion, added “I think these bastards killed him and this is the only way to open up the shit”. Composing himself, then completed the plea “I have a better chance of some kind of confession and remember I can open doors that you can’t”

“Right Dick; you bring the listening gear around to the old tailor’s place” said James, accustomed to giving orders. “Now Hammy you make your way up to Frank, insist he must stay where he is…. All I need is for that big bugger coming down and spoiling everything!”.

Without another syllable being spoken, the two comrades in arms sped into the oncoming rain. After giving a quick glance around, James just a few moments later, stepped outside then over High Street though stopped deliberately at the Tollbooth just to check for any unwelcome footsteps. Quickly, scurrying across over the disused underground railway station, heading straight for the old curiosity shop. It was the nickname for the old tailors, for it gave the appearance of ‘Charles Dickens era’ with its Victorian interior suited the once cobblestoned Saltmarket

Opening the heavy door, he was greeted with “Ah your back you Brigand, what can I do for you…will I measure your snake hips?” James protested ….and tells the jolly man everything so far.

The old bespoke retort “I need to help, your uncle was kind to me when so much anti- Semitism was about… James I played rugby you know, for my Ayrshire School, so I know how to tackle and handle myself;”. James insisted “Sorry, but I need your shop, you can keep an eye out for any trouble from this end…hey…O. K?”

He agreed for he knew James well, but slyly added “tell me to mind my own business but I have always wondered why you never married…your allowed, in your occupation as far as I believe?” This touched James, even with all hullabaloos going on. He took time answering, saying “No use searching for the illusive companion if you have trouble keeping company of yourself”.

Just then, they both heard heavy footsteps outside, and a bang at the shop’s door. James swung around to face the entrance……
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peter.howden
Bond Note, Episode Thirteen…the one before the penultimate

The Ruse

Tense but ready, James opened the covered door to see Dirty Dick, carrying various pieces of electronic apparatus. They both raced down the old cracked basement stairs, away from prying eyes above, but mainly to concealed the finely tuned equipment. “Hammy is heading for the Royal infirmary, ready to swipe Frank’s cloths so he will be stuck where he is” gasped Dick. James, added with a sigh of relief “Thank God; for he is a bull in a china shop…. I have seen him raging once, not a pretty sight, the poor guy came within an inch of his demise…close to a devil’s prayer that day” James woefully recalled.

Dirty Dick reminded James, as he was about to leave, to be careful, James asked “How can you rate yourself as being a gigolo; if you can’t dance and the Barra-land is just around the corner?” the Gallowgate eccentric entrepreneur of sorts, took not a spit second to reply, “Why do you think I wear patent dance shoes?” then disappeared

Last minute shakes caught James by surprise for he wondered if this was really his bag. It is easy to be brave in front of people or a crowd, but alone in a wee dingy shop, doubts started to surface. The old tailor came through from the back and seemed to have a gist to James’s dilemma. Without being asked he quoted; “The disappearance of a sense of responsibility, has the most far reaching consequences of submission to your own insanity”. What does this mean” asked James “I don’t really know, but my father said it more than once so it must be profound” answered the shopkeeper.

For whatever reason which James did not know, he felt better so with not any word he left into the street. He knew what had to be done.

Slowly walking towards the Tron, James felt this could be from ‘High Noon’, apart from the fact he was no Gary Cooper and this was not a picture but a desperate bid of revenge. Was he right to think this savage way and if so, was it for the right reason of law. Two girls were certainly dead by those scoundrels’ hands and who had tried to frame James. Then there was Uncle Saul. He stopped besides the main door of M&S, to light a mentholated cigarette, inhaling as much as the filter would allow. Yes I know they were involved, judged James as his mind ran on, and perhaps this is against the law or Gods code of practice but I must go through with it.

Walking briskly towards Boots Corner, down past Jamaica Street’s dodgy cinema theatre for X rate exotic suggestive films, where James had found himself, by mistake, once or twice.

All the time his heart was leaping all over the place. Could and would his simple hair brain plan work. Uncle Saul always insisted in keeping everything simple. James was angry at himself as he should be used to this, for he had dealt with some low life in his time. It troubles him he had called this as dead simple, as he was just about to turn the corner into Midland Street.

The single figure of James reached his destination, constantly sweating making a clammy canal down his back. His mouth was dry and his rational unclear One final deep breath and in to the lion’s den as he banged the step-in door. It rattled quite loudly with no response from within. James kicked the door in pure built up emotion and to his surprise the door swung open. He stepped vigilantly into the darkness beyond. A light was shining in the room where he had been before with the dreich Charlie. James straightened his wet back, walked steadily towards the brightness where he could see the gangster boss sitting.

A large hand, followed by a big arm stopped him dead in his tracks. “I think you should allow Tam to search you; just in case you are wired or something stupid like that” croaked Charlie. ‘You have socialized, and met my crowd dispenser, bath and carjack hit man, ‘Balgair’ …by the way, so did your nosy Uncle Saul...” cracked the smug Charlie. “it’s so bloody easy, lift the house bath with the carjack, place the unwilling owner’s head and body underneath…and let the spring go, and Walla…a bit messy, brutal even…but it works!”

From out of a hidden dark passage in the brickwork, scurried a very agitated mauchit Harry; who seemed to genuflect with every movement while always half looking at the Charlie the devious crook, sitting behind the mahogany desk. Harry’s pin legs were so tight together as if he was bursting for the privy. “We know all about your little surprises thanks to this fine upstanding citizen” said a voice trying to be sardonic. “I think you have made your last mistake”

As this eejit brute apparently called Tam, stripped James of electronic wires and receiver, Harry edged his trembling feartie frame towards the shaft door. “Just a wee moment… my tell-tale friend” spoke the podgy racketeer, squirting behind the unconventional furnishings. The words were short, but cut deep into Harry’s already insecure presence, for he knew exactly what these words meant; when said in such a tone “Mr Stuart, I was just covering his back, in case he bolted for it!” insisted the clarty Harry, now oozing with perspiration, as he slowly retracing sly steps.

“Thanks Thomas!” said the fat controller as he swivelled around in his leather bound all-inclusive executives chair, whilst holding some puggy drink between his badly manicured fingers, “Now James; what is your problem, apart from the Glasgow’s finest scouring the streets for you, something about murders, and not for giving you a shirrackin…What’s up Doc?... and you are being who you are as well!?”.
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peter.howden

Bond Note, Episode fourteen; … the penultimate

The Spiel

Shaking his head slowly and deliberately, then looked straight into the gangster’s fugly sunbed face, coolly started to talk “Well I reckon you’ve got me cold, thanks to that hack pishin himself in the corner… so what harm if I tell you what I know?” “At a wild presumption, I’d say your associate goat here is, Thomas Wentworth, registered captain of registered, ‘City of Adelaide’, legitimately sailing regularly from Marseilles to the tail of the bank at Greenock” “Did you know Marseilles is a twin city of Glasgow?” James quipped whilst walking around the ornate desk. Without waiting for an answer, James plunged spitting aloud, “No; you two are just bum cockroaches who suck the very decency from each one you touch”


Carry on James, you know your digging your own grave” Charlie twisted his words in a menacing way as he spoke. Wait a minute, Mr Stuart? came a quacking voice from the other side of the cold man made cave. “I’ll have none of these shenanigans, Mr Stuart; I’m oot of here” timorous Harry, stuttered and spat, about ready to run like a rabbit at a dug meeting. “Harry; you dickheed, you’ve no chance shootin the craw, your lumbered just like me” James shouted to one penny shy Harry, now scrunching into hysterics.” What did you expect you reekin fool; a skite around the lughole and a tanner for your trouble?” blasted James, adding sarcastically; “Shit evolves Harry; shit evolves”. Tam the bam motioned to move towards the shaking wreak. Now he stood as stiff as a board.

Boldly James turned to his quarry; “I remembered Robbie Burn’s ‘Tam O Shanter’; where, in two special verses, it calls on the Carrick and Cutty Sark” quoted James with almost a tune to his voice. “It was all an elaborated code. You thought you were ‘cock of the north’ as you planted, or your paid flunky did, the message for others to be warned that there was no messing with you”.

“I was stuck with the two boats thing, but the Cutty Sark was, rightly or wrongly, presumed to the nickname of an underskirt worn by Nannie Dee, one of the Witch’s dancing”. James did not wait for acknowledgement or argument; “the Carrick lying down at the Clyde was originally named City of Adelaide taking convicts to Australia but some of the more unscrupulous captains, brought back aborigines to Africa ports of Benin and Lagos, since Britain was supposed to have denounced the slave trade”.


It was clear the boss of this Witch hole was edgy, lent forward toward a hidden drawer hidden. With smugness of a bond’s ‘Blofeld’, he urged James to elaborate, while the jerking Harry started to smell…a lingering bad toley odour. Tam the Bam was giving signals of just wanting to waste both captives, but Charlie obviously was in charge, prevents the thug by just a slight nod.

“I checked with custom House in the Broomielaw, read a copy of the Bond Note issued to his boat, pointing to the maniac captain, showing paperwork for the Adelaide vessel, unofficially docking at the port of Rijeka in Croatia, then sailing to Benghazi…the new ‘Benin’ of old bondage…human traffic”, every spoken syllable, James becoming more precise. “Word around say’s you are double dealing in slavery, drugs and prostitution so it all adds up”. Before James could utter another word, the bastard Tam turned, walloping him with a back hander, with such force it almost felled him on the spot. The desperado grunted, “How much more crap must we listen to…just let’s do the business” …. “Shut it you fool” roared Charlie, appearing uncomfortable for the first time.

James saw his chance and took it “you can’t even control a couple of woman …some thugs you turn out to be?” “Well we took care of your interfering relative” …… this came as a boast from screwed up lips of the so-called Thomas. Charlie didn’t allow him to finish by roaring over him “O Christ can you not shut that big gob of yours” retorted Charlie whose face was now turning crimson. The fleeting figure of spiffy Harry, caught James attention. Harry had plucked up the nerve making a bolt for freedom, only to be stopped dead in his tracks, being in contact with a flying cosh knocking him physically senseless

“Well!” exclaimed Charlie, coldly followed by “I may as well tell the rest.” “The girl found in your abode, just would not play ball and I just had to pump her with dope!” “I took great joy in planting her in your flat after your booze was spiked by Danielle, but then Danielle, the stupid bitch was going to peach on us all… with you… of all people?!” “I’ll miss her but she had to be taught the consequences of being a filthy grass; nice body though…. don’t you think James?” “You’re predictable James, and I did chuckle, but as for your nosy Uncle, you will have to ask him when you meet him” was the poisoned ending to the talking.

Charlie pulled out a gun and pointed it at James temple. James heard the clicking of the hammer
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peter.howden

Bond Note, Episode fifteen


The Eyn…at last

One moment of almost seeing his maker and eternal death, when, out of nowhere or out of the depths of hell, came a saviour, approaching from a thunderous crashing through the doorway, spreading open all the heavens were to behold. Charlie and his felonious entourage, were taken completely by surprise, as if time itself was motionless. For a second or two, the head mobster lost concentration, opening his mouth in astonishment, while unconsciously lowering his firearm,

Taking advance of the instantaneous confusion and uproar, James springs into automatic action, turning sharply around to relieve the thug’s hand of the violent intimidating weapon. Unfortunately, it stayed tightly grasped in the now frantic villain’s clenched fist… however for some unknown reason he was unable to fire the hazardous armament.

Within this precise moment, James turned again, to witness the eccentric sight of enormous bulging Frank, hurtling through the remains of the shattered door, on a green motor-bike, completely naked apart from being covered, very loosely, by a hospital goony, complete with feeding tubes and flex blood things dangling from his arm and chest. Frank was as the bible quoted “Behold a pale horse; the rider’s name was death, and hell followed him”.

Not one more valuable instant past before the wild Frank, bounding from his borrowed machine, landed right on the fearsome ‘Tam the bam’. With the coiled savagery of trapped injured wild animal, Frank tanked ferociously into his adversary with solid fists. Bouncing Tam’s head of the hard-wooden desk, the hood was knocked near unconscious. In the commotion, some flying debris from the wrecked door, struck Charlie’s hand holding the gun.

Being now defenceless, the Pratt began to run for a hidden exit when…a fluky missile whisked past James’s head, belting Charlie on the back of the head, rendering him completely out of the game, eagle-spread across the floor. In the far corner, Harry looked smug and chuffed. The missile had been Tam’s cosh, and it was poetic justice, James thought. The tosser fanny-bawz, ‘Balgair’ held his hands as high as he could…apprehensively.

Before he had any chance to thank the man, he heard the sirens, and suddenly the place was filled with police officers. James peered down at the now recovering Charlie, and bitterly snarled “You bastard, no one deserved the treatment to give to these girls, especially Danielle; just for your information, the name means – ‘God be my judge’- and I hope so”. Just as he finished spitting out these few words, James could not help but give in to the compulsion of whacking the scum bag. He really relished the crack his boot made.

James welcomed the arrival of the blue bottle brigade, even pleased to see the dinosaur Andy, making his way through the throng. “Looks as if you and your man have knocked hell out of the evidence” the smug little copper quipped. “Not in the least” James proudly replied, bringing out a piece of minute apparatus, hidden well in his person. Glancing at a relieved, but smelly, wee grass; “You see Harry we knew you were listening all the time, and that you would shop me for a couple of quid….so Dirty Dick fitted two being recorded in the tailor’s shop…. clever was it not?”

James’s voice changed as he added “It is just a pity the bastard would not go all the way and let me know where Uncle Saul is” Just then Frank, now having been persuaded to release his hold on Tam the bam, rush over to give James a manly hug which nearly broke his back. “Get oft… you big lump… but thanks Big Man” however I think you are in trouble with the bike” With a boyish grin on his face, Frank admitted that the bike belonged to one of Charlie’s henchmen who had been sent to spy on him at the hospital. “He must have been waiting for me to be released so to fill me in, so I surprised him…..could not leave the bike….could I?”.

Hammy and Dirty Dick were now on the scene, walking through the chaos to check on James. The inspector’s team rounded everyone in the building “Well I reckon that’s the lot” Andy said in a pleasant tone as James handed him the recorder “Thank goodness Hammy had the sense to inform the police station of your crazy plan” the policeman said in admiration. “Thank goodness your big man is always on hand…hey James” Hammy said, winking at James… James agreed.

A young policeman with the inevitable trusty note book, had been given the task of writing down the names and addresses of everyone under the bridge. He now stood in front of James, asking for his details. “My name constable” James hesitated for a moment … “My name is James Saul McKenzie……Reverent James Saul McKenzie and by the way….?”

The End, Perhaps…God Willing
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peter.howden
My Chronicles 16/05/2017;

There is no getting away from the plain fact just how silly I can be. For someone who believes they can hold appearance of reasonably intelligence, from time to time, I do the most senseless of things…and feel quite proud about it. There are theories even the most astute professionals, in all grades of life, slip into nonsenses now an again. I appear to encourage such behaviour, as an immunization action, to stop an inevitable flow of ridiculousness epidemic spreading throughout my whole lifetime. Does the procedure work…well no…although it has now become an addictive drug, to keep my sanity…or do I question my sanity...I must try!?

I do not know what, why or how this whole creation thing is about, but we only have a unknown limit of time to try and be decent with your family, our China’s, our friends, our neighbours, especially with the people we do not like, our own wee bubble within the crazy unbelievable spinning world… if you can get through this life without deliberately hurting someone, then you have won a watch….but that is impossible…but you have to try …perhaps that is my silliness… but I would rather be daft than stupid… in equal measure there is a difference, at least in my book

There are one or two constants; always mentioned in ‘My Chronicles, which have diverse effects on myself and my family. When I report about ‘She who must be obeyed’ it can be with concern as to Rebecca’s health, or something she has completed having loving care behind the reason. Some may call it constant infatuation, other pure love, but again in equal measure, they both exist in our long relationship, with twist and turns and a creation of new meanings

According to the ancient Greeks, there are three fates, responsible for the thread of human life.
‘Clotho’ would spin, ‘Lachesis’ would distribute …but beware the oldest ‘Atropos’ would cut the thread of existence. We have witnessed the first two, during our half century together enjoying the helter skelter…but not in any hurry to await the third, come ye slow, come ye fast

Aunt Becky is both of our constant, both in quality of life and contentment. My small contribution is some messages, or small jobs around her home. My main input is taking her for a hurl whenever the opportunity arises. Becky does enjoy the Scottish tunes playing while the journey takes in the countryside around the brutal awesome Kilpatrick hills of, majestic catching my eye and mind's eye. Becky life a bairn shows signs of pure glee as she taps the floor of the old jalopy, singing almost every word with enthusiasm.

All the hills are Scottish hills, which I have seen in person, makes me feel good to be alive…. every now and then certain views just blow me away making it worthwhile just witnessing that very moment…. the moment, the amazing sight, just fail to be capture if trying to photograph… but stay in my mind’s eye. I have in my mind, a wish to try the N.C500, advertised as Scotland’s answer to the Route 66…plenty of rolling stones outside, and thumping through my speakers.

The spectacular route runs from Inverness, to the Kyle of Lochalsh on the West Coast, via the craggy north coast to John O'Groats, before heading down the east coast, finalising the loop in Inverness.

Selfish bandit that I am…..
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peter.howden
Sorry for the errors and mistakes made in this passage....rushing too much
peter.howden
Home Spun Stories

The Afflicted

What are dreams, and what purpose do they serve, do they lay in wait, crowded but holding forgotten cells of the mind, craving to opt out unannounced, striking ludicrous imperfection, clouded in fearful apparitions…perhaps a mixture of uncertainties humans find impossible to fathom being a mobile home for the Gods to influence tomorrow’s behaviour…or a passage Auld Nick uses for his sardonic purpose.

Have dreams the power to prophesy the future, or just a reflection of what might, or ought to have happened? a series of thoughts, metaphors, and ambiances in a person's mind during sleep. Are dreams, a light of a day’s sensation reproduced in a murky curve of the mind while in slumber, then to awake not to remember in part, or to find innocent, or not accurate...up till now an uneasy emotion lingers, hovering invisible. Perhaps simply caused by a piece of unsettled cheese, as ‘Scrooge’ wrongly predicted, as far as that story goes… seeming to be there and not be there at the same time…ding bloody dong…. who can tell.

It may be plausible we possess animal instincts from way back, keeping out the terror inflicted on the world, compelling chaos to be at bay, returning and creating a haven when reality is too much to bare...for sin has no boundaries…indeed are we not animals beneath our pretence. Now is this day and age I was to witness there was something unknown out there…. An unconceivable troubled journey stretched the night longer than it should have been, causing trepidation dread of the illusive enormous physical in its layer, ready to strike the innocent in an instant notice.

The evening prior to the darkest hour of that night, triggered by personal turbulence. A conversation was struck between companions as to the sincerity ancient bible faith, mainly Moses in bondage with his peoples the Israelites. A lengthily discussion took place whither there was the 10 ‘Plagues of Egypt’ which included Boils, Blood, and frogs plus a massive sand storm “Cashimh”. Pros and Cons on the singular plague of billions of ‘locus’ flying and crawling over man and beasts alike, destroying all crops before them…. with tragedy to blindly follow.

The time of awake and the time of troubled sleep is unclear, for both are linked, making it hard to tell when one began or the other ended. Normal reveries spanned usually at the dead of the darkest hour of any given night…however this experience could not be classed as so. To accompany all the while, there was a distinct sweet aroma of boiled cabbage draughts through alert nostrils, whimpering in most cracks and crevices of my now anxious mind.

What was real…what was dreaming? It may sound perfectly feasible for rational heads, to automatically separates reality from fiction, however, this is normally achieved in the welcoming birth of light trumpeting a new day. During the depths of gloomiest passage of this nightmare, fearing each second worse than the previous moment while most terrifyingly acceptance for the one to come, there was no hiding place…no refuge…the unrestrained and the civilized man… to ease my psychological pain.

Macabre ogres of the most horrendous slimy description, invading all parts of my mind where sagacity had abandoned long ago. Small crawling serpents invading under tense skin, searching to destroy my soul, while all around fell under the spell of the unknown conqueror of sanity. I do recall from within the height of the excruciating plague, wishing I could pray to end it all…no matter what the cost.

After an unidentified interval, there was nothing…nothing at all, drifting between worlds I did not know, yet… a faint whiff of cabbage, and a gooeyness at my delicate touch. Half-awake and perspiring profusely from my brow, I just managing to raise an exhausted head slightly from the softness of the pillow. A strange awareness in the distance a noisy dense jungle atmosphere, while personally suffering from an interfering wriggling sensation crawling over my stark-naked unprotected body.

Rolling onto my back, suddenly being wide awake though for numerous moments, preferring to keep my sticky eyes closed…At that precise moment… my mind boggled… …. The lurid illusion was coming alive…. was this the ultimate reckoning.

The daylight sank into my eyes, forcing a meeting with fate. Opening one eye with great difficulty due to the conjunctivitis discharge, and an honest fear in what I would see. I now knew I was naked lying diagonally across the divan, with an old hairy crochet blanket slowly dropping off to the floor below. In the hubbub of the cruel night’s secrets I must have lain on the remote controls of the television, blaring in the corner of the room. This unconscious action must have switched on the google-box apparatus, now showing the knowledgeable ‘David Attenborough’ in some sweaty jungle or other.

and the boiled cabbage…. just a haunting odour from my school days past
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peter.howden

Foretastes of a 60s adolescent


Perspiration without preparation ….so far

I would envision many childhoods prove extraordinary, designed for one reason or another, with those taking part and their families, portentously not always for the good and wellbeing of those taking part. For me, I look back recalling small peeks into my reasonable lucky childhood. There is an old proverb “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”. Throughout life I certainly grasped at opportunities but more like a gallus ‘Chancer’ (a Glaswegian word of explanation) laldie in lacking preparation

What I do know now is wishing I had listened closer to my brother John, sisters Margaret and Shelia, along with my mother. This in its own way may appears strange to others, my mother is not top notch…but for right or wrong …that is how it was.

Idolizing John, both physically and mentally, was just automatic during my childhood experience. Perhaps the reason was his qualities I seldom have found in others, though masquerades in most human beings. He was strong, gentle and kind. He did not say much although when he did it was with purpose. He is the person, given the choice, I would have like to be alike, but ‘qua-sera-sera’, or is that how you spell the quote… but all the same, Doris Day never sang it that way!

It’s amazing how many people claim to remember things, and actions about their childhood, almost while popping from the warmth of the womb, but I cannot do so. A few blimps come now and again with the one incident being the more prominent. Leaving hospital, or so I was told later, I was given a brand-new pair of slippers on arrival to the family abode. When it came to bedtime I refused to place them under my bed by hugging them tightly.

No matter what temptations, or promise’s given, I persisted keeping them close to my chest. John saw no harm letting me sleep with them attached, although mother disagreed. I have a faint sort of ghost's memory around blue slippers, my arms clutching them although whether I do remember truly, or the aftermath suggestion made by others encourages my recall…I do not know.

Again, other people do tell of the wonderful cherished idyllic childhood, with joys and love abundant. Once more I cannot claim this, though I was privileged while not recognizing it to be so. While the family routine was strict I never knew hunger, cold, or wanting (except for a toy pistol my mother would not allow) living in a massive flat, according to Gorbals standards of the time, above a national bank adjacent to Victoria Bridge. The heart of Glasgow flowed right outside our window, now… this is where the Justice Court is situated.

Mother ruled with a not so gentle velvet glove. You knew just with her glancing what and when it had to be done. She maintained all her life as being tee total and to a point it must have been true! Later in childhood, discovering how every night without fail, in the privacy of her bedroom, have a good measured double of “the water of life” washing down a large piece of Dundee cake. She never drank in company except during Christmas dinner. This was a rich red port kept for this very occasion. She once scolds John, with severity, when he came home tipsy and I never knew at the time why she was so.

Later in life I did discover the reason… I now wish I had a moment or two alone with her, just to express my simple regret, but old heads and young shoulders do not mix or is it that they should not. Now I am constantly aware, it could not have been easy for her, and I do wish the impossible… I could tell her that.

Everyone in the household had set duties and now I see the need for them, but at the time it felt an infringement on my doing something else productive like reading comics. Tuesday evening’s, my duty was the brass’s which were many… and on Friday nights was all the leather shoes in the house. Funnily enough I still enjoy doing both these things today. conceivably, a sort of therapy, or just a hankering hand back to the past. I was relieved of the Friday night duties when I joined the Life Boys (not to be confused with the soap of the same name) then later the Boys Brigade. Unfortunately, my tasks were only moved to a ‘Thursday’.

I can remember other children in our house only once, and we played nurses and doctors within the darkness of a cupboard in the hall, while the adults had chatter and perhaps listened to something important on the wireless. Unlike the politically correct brains of today, this was not a rash of perverted sex with lewd thoughts… it was simple innocents exploring their own limited sexuality without knowing they were doing so to boot.

Turning into my teens and the years instantly ahead, we all believed how our parents and the old, had never thought, or dreamed thoughts like ours, or planned to change the world in dramatic sweeping ways born of the age. We were on a new trail improvising and adjusting views of all subjects, foreign and novel to the older generation, who…overall knew nothing at all …it is only now I realise how little I was aware of….and still do, while older generations based their knowledge in a lifetime of living…knocks and bumps included.
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peter.howden
Anecdotes from the auld Steamie

A Wet Charlie…

During last century Scotland within the hearts of industrial metropolises, lay the backbone of working class areas, stood Victorian purposely erected premises, proudly housing Swimming ponds, Turkish suites and the famous Steamies. Throughout decades in the blistering sweaty carbolic Steamies, life’s hard-bitten Glaswegian women toiled hard during ticket-timed weekly washes, holding a sort of love/hate affair with such demanding routines.

To ease the back breaking burden, they thrived on camaraderie, gabbing many a tongue spell of the famous ‘Craic’(banter) ringing around the imbedded phosphate concrete wet floors, raising thru the roof…spilling onwards throughout the whole the community. Of course, reflecting all classes within any society, there was haughty scunners, moaning along with loudmouths, causing some she-beast stramash around the spinners, that no attendant dare intervenes… but that is for another anecdote

In the main swimming pool lifeguards, holders of the Bronze medallion, were regularly drilled each week, given essential training as part of safety measures. Portion of the exercise was to rescue a tired swimmer, or unconscious bather, or both, taking it in turns, swapping over being saviour or skinny-dipper. One employee nicknamed ‘short arse Charlie’, the pain in the bum preferred to be called ‘Charles’ but nobody ever did…apart from Armstrong, the gaffer. The two of them were joined at the hip, some thought bufters, yet at the time no-one knew they were related, with insight…both were irritable sneaky narky bandits.

The pond aides had to take such stash from Armstrong, but not from the proper Charlie…the hawfwit neb. It may sound very cruel behaviour for the workforce becoming totally sickened by this wee talebearer, whenever the opportunity arose for some flumgummery, hoax or physical joke, all was played on Charlie.

The timing was vitally scheduled while Charlie was preforming his brief acting up as shift supervisor, Toby rushed into the staff room, informing the toty squirt, an unconscious foreign body found in the water, had been dragged out, and now the proper procedure was being performed, but no response in improvised breathing. Like a chicken who has lost its head, the wee scunner ran through the entrance to the pool, observed a lifesaver bending over a body, dashed back to phone his mentor Armstrong…for advice.

Having almost un-normal raised high pitch voice, Charlie relayed the problem, then hastily instructed by the other end of the telephone, to make sure the body is in the correct recovery position, then take details from witnesses. Armstrong bellowed down the phone, to stay calm …he would be there directly. Short arse Charlie rushed through the pool swing doors, made a beeline towards the tending attendant, forgetting the basic rule…never run in the pool area.

The shock the poor wee Charlie had within moments was seeing John practicing the official way bring breath back into circulation…the trouble was…it was the life size dummy used for such ramstoorie occasions, when there are no attendants to play the part

The expiations were total, word for word amongst the staff, but even so…Toby was blighted with the job of brushing out the pool. This may sound simple, but for the fact, some 8 feet wide-spread brush, secured on a huge lightweight aluminium pole. The worker wearing swimming trunks had to manoeuvre the sweep, both in shallow and in 9-foot-depth, mostly swimming underwater, taking the collective dirt towards the old stank in the deep end…while smirking Charlie stood there until the long odious task was completed.

A few weeks later, Toby passing him, mentioning how the polo match was a swimmer short, asked if he could join the fun. ‘Short arse Charlie, never having participated in the water sport, having a brass-neck believed he was in excellent condition, and how he should be the replacement. So, with a whiff of seniority smugness, he joined the battle, of intended, four, 6 minute quarters. Due to ensnares and the like, most quarters are extended to 12 minutes due to these types of fouls
.
The players are not allowed to touch or physical interfere with another swimmer but are not hampered with what can’t be seen underwater… and the understandably obvious common denominator they aim for.

Short-arsed Charlie lasted less than one normal quarter, as the rest of the players gave no quarter…no mercy. Charlie walked very slowly and bizarrely, for many a day afterwards.
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peter.howden
My Chronicles 02/06/2017;

More than little personal concern for ‘She who must be obeyed’ gaining the ability to walk without pain or severe discomfort. In the meantime, Rebecca is determined to take wee Aunt Becky, around the shops, once a week, which is an added apprehension. Rebecca is waiting for conformation as to when, but more important, the preparation needed for such an operation taking place. Due to the serious medication Rebecca takes and has been for so long, this is certainly not straight forward.

Like Aunt Becky, there is a quality of life which is paramount in any decision taken, while my personal reservations must take a back seat while juggling the necessities of having a needed and productive life…not just an existence. But it is hard to see the person you love suffering.

As for Aunt Becky, the good news is, she appears to be content overall, very rarely shows signs of being upset but her dementia is obvious now, even to an untrained eye. Becky, under professional supervision attends an all-day club three days a week, and she and I enjoy our sing along hurl, in the old jalopy, at least once a week.

Unfortunately, I cannot say we are pleased with the day to day service supplied by the designated day-care. One or two of the helpers are super treating Aunt Becky as a person, talking to her…not at her. Their problem is the rota giving 15 minutes per person, and the chronic lack of traveling time between clients. Everything is cost cut, not for the good of the customers.

As for me, it is surprising, how often, after all these years coming towards the finally, how old age takes me by surprise constantly, as aches and pains are where it is not good manners to talk about.my so called memory has me in cloud number nine…without the benefits many songs tell you about inn their lyrics. One thing has been constant since I was a mere strip of a whimp. Due to then untreatable ‘Periodontal disease’, since the tender age of 17, many numerous obstinate experiences I have endured, some my own fault.

There are hopefully unseen disadvantages having false teeth which can be a bloody nuisance because of the frequency they surprise my poor mouth. Anything nutty or small seeds tend to worm underneath the plates, causing mouth distortion which is difficult to hide from the company at the table. The taste buds are affected along with pleasure others take for granted are not so sudden for denture holders …however I have a secret where every night I can join the privileges which natural teeth owners have.

Due for hygiene purposes the need for precisely timing when to remove those clumsy barriers of high living, necessary but awkward plastic metal wallies, placing the imitation molars into a sterilized container while furtively diverse in planning a period of sheer naughtiness of decadence which normally I could only dream about…. the execution of a scheme is afoot….

There is a secret boon having no teeth in

A crafty sip from a glass of chilled authentic ‘Dandelion & Burdock’, a divine nectar for demi-gods, originating from my childhood, as I rummage around to find my golden loot…a bag of either Liquorice or treacle toffies. This does not happen every night for it would become dull routine…but perhaps once a week. I sook and suck, suck, and sook to my heart’s delight as the flavours stimulate bulbous nerves, reaching the most primitive of taste-bud points within my mouth … sheer unadulterated heavenly enjoyment… bloody marvellous
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peter.howden
JIM 12 (Part one)

Jim stepped down from the train, taking in a whiff of a unfamiliar sweetish aroma swirling around as his eyes were immediately drawn to a young man, obviously in a deluded state, squealing hysterically, savagely huckled by two huge men dressed in complete rubber protective suits. The primitive gear would be no stranger as costumes in old horror ‘B’ movies, appearing awkward and clumsy, but no clothing or bare skin protruded from this out of date protective attire.

What was eccentric striking him, was the non-reaction of the walking populace around the busy station, paying zero attention, no heed whatsoever to the seized man’s piercing yells, or indeed noticing the two huge white blobs dragging him through the throng of an uninterested crowd until the escort disappeared well beyond his range of vision.

Jim felt guilty and alarmed standing there, but calmed himself because he was a stranger, yet confused why no one aided the obvious needy victim, regardless of circumstances. In all his allusion and journeys, Jim held a personal revered code, once quoted by a John Wayne’s character; “I won't be wronged. I won't be insulted. I won't be laid a-hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.” Brusquely returning to the situation by an abundant sweet odour intruding its fumes to his nostrils, much more than just a whiff, hypnotically overpowering fustiness.

Recovering his normal cool attitude, based on this moment is now, and never be again, Jim steps forward, noticing the weirdness of the whole set up for the railway siding. People about their everyday business, outwardly total oblivious of clumps of rags hanging high overhead, on steel girders, way above the packed thoroughfare’s main hub of activity except there are no pigeons. This would be classified as weird for busy railway stations, as pigeons and sparrows are unlicensed lodgers. Everybody superficially scrutinized everyone else unspecified, studying every detail, but ignoring him completely

As they anonymously past Jim, there was a gaze in their eyes a petrifying stare that daren’t look left or right, near unconsciousness of the surroundings and happenings …no matter what they may be…. yet on closer scrutiny just in the corner of each individual retina, concealed in a single jiffy, a flicker of imaginary dread, silently said…thank god it was not me. This was not living…nor an existence, just automaton behavior, executed and ruled by a hidden master. This power beyond anything else, either ever created or produced by unbalanced logic and technology, far outside anything ever existing in this cosmos, was mass crippling minds.

Jim permanently concluded, ‘Man’ had held himself, and his wayward theories, superior on this delicate sphere. So much so they were willing to demolish all else for their own selfish survival, killing millions of their own kind… just for one whim or other. What power humans had under the fingernails. The ultimate unsolved puzzle being… how to elude such the problem in the first place. Jim had arrived in a place he did not wish to be……what now?
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peter.howden
JIM 12 (Part two)

Somewhere pulsating within Jim’s head, lay an enigma of origin source, why humans distorted inherited animal instincts from birth, races, and creeds each inbred superior philosophies to nature and other beings, veiled over with a flimsy curtain inaugurated civilization continually purging any chance of a mystic garden of Eden. After all, man were top dogs in the universe, were they not?... but solitary minded, threaten to obliterate survival, by the jab of a sword or a push of a button.



Sharply recovering to here…. where… still on the platform, standing next to a Pullman’s first-class compartment carriage, but no sign of an elusive locomotive, or any other coach for that matter, as he took out what he believed to be his ticket for such a nomadic voyage, which mysteriously he had no idea where from, or if it was direct to where-ever, or the actual destination. The ticket indeed had his name boldly printed on it…. Otherwise blank.

Jim was marooned in wave after wave of individual beings, acting in mass safety in numbers, minus any emotion except silent terror. Within Seconds, Jim saw another screaming body being dragged away from the throng by three men, again in industrial protective gear. The entire horrid incident, at least through Jim’s eyes, seen in slow motion horror cartoon fashion as they cruelly bludgeoned their victim with primitive canes, causing rich red blood to splutter aimlessly into the air…yet, each time they struck the poor quarry’s unprotected head, unmistakably whitish flaky substance flowed slowly airborne

When he recalled, while this zombie of a man was being forcible pushed further away, the first man was in the same state around his head, bloody with white flaky bits. About to call out and be involved, the hatchet men, and victim, just vanished… swallowed up by the constantly moving swarm…. as if they had never existed.

Looking up to the girders and rooftops of the depot, it became noticeable to Jim, how many of those strange loose bundles of cloth just hanging and flowing with the wind. Statue like structures covered in tatty clothing and with little imagination there could be bones or body inside these dirty shabby garments but they were to far up for closer inspetion.

Having been travelling for an unknown period, perhaps Jim was more inquisitive than wise. Anyway, something popped out which he missed while looking around when first arrived. Every nearby building was covered in clear polythene, as if to keep heat in or something. Every single construction taped down completely in polythene, from crook and bend

Out of the corner of his eye, Jim observed this guy, outside the defensive swarm, looking as if he had not a clue where he was or giving a dam anyway. He was certainly consumed in other thoughts as he staggered in a drunken manner. Jim had witnessed many times, drunks of all manners and this bloke was not one. He was scrapping his head and rubbing his face, franticly with both hands as if something was sticking to him or deep inside his head. Jim noticed the presence of crumbly white residue. The disorientated non-drunk stopped at a skeleton of a building under construction, climbing upwards on the bare steel girders stretching aloft.

Suddenly a harsh horn or siren, ear-splitting for all to hear from any distance. Everybody, as a single entity, immediately made for the nearest building, hiding themselves under the plastic flaps. One man grabbed Jim’s arm and shouted, “Are you mad standing there, run like the clappers… and follow me”. Before he knew it, Jim was at full pelt, following the arm which had grabbed him.

Once under the flaps, both he and the man tried to get their breaths back and the stranger looked at Jim in puzzlement. “Have you a death wish and if so why would you wish that scourge of a way” he said coldly. Jim, between gasps for air, let out he was just in by the train and knew nothing of the place. “Perhaps there is hope… and you are the luck” responded the stranger with a quaver in his voice.

The stranger began to unfold what was happening
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peter.howden
Periodical Wan 03/01/2014

Aftermath of past Ne’erday

It was the opening of a brand new fresh year, yet still in the same climatological winter pattern it had been just a few days previously. Giving testament and proving some things will never change. It was one time to remember the old with affection. celebrate the past and wonder what was to come.to pause for moment and recharge life with boundless promises in a futile attempt to improve as a person. I am an old grumpy man, I am immune from such trivial efforts, for me, it is to remember when entering my correspondence, the date has indeed changed and to rid myself of the habit of the now outdated numerals.

It is also the coming of the end of an unchartered period, a new curriculum phenomenon, between the recent avalanche of advertising mayhem insisting on extended Christmas celebrations, conveniently married with bonus holidays where the marauder epoch stretches beyond timeless monotony for the coming and going traditional Scottish Ne’erday. The days monotonously marry into each other, while mentally losing the ability recalling what day it actually is, bounded with a form of duty beyond imagination, consume no end to the abundance of food and alcohol already taken in excess.

I like the idea of Christmas very much but in small helpings, on the other hand, each guest arriving or when we are the guests to a household, mince pies are brought out after being neglected on the actual Xmas day (celebration of Christ birth; the exact month and day of his entrance to this mortal coil are unknown) and if staying for a feast, reheated Brussels sprouts materialize as if by magic by the big green giant, wadding trough a mountain of food to shame the common market.

The hardest burden to swallow is the five loaves, two fishes feeding the multitude, from the bible, in reverse, with a multitude of various foods to feed the few and you need for a cup of tea or a drink of skoosh rather than constant booze . This stretch of purgatory torments the simple pleasure of a wee half taken at the bells where the Sassenachs place an oath while wearing uneven hired kilts and a Sgian Dhu wrongly place. The old traditions of open house for any traveller with a lump of coal and a bottle are sadly gone, being replaced by new founded traditions with Ne’erday wishes

We are so fortunate having Chris, Kirsty, Nikki and Simon,, three growing grandchildren, then not least, Toni’s main man Fergus, plus wonderful memories, some slightly uncontrollable tearful as they are of Toni. Aunt Becky worked through the course of festivities by being at ‘She who must be obeyed’ home for both Christmas and New Year. We have a small circle of true friends… we could not request for more

My only solo wish is being a Scot, in both manner and in deed, with an sporadic wee dram or Glaswegian slight refreshment being a heavenly glass of golden liquid, surely fit for king or pauper alike… or even the very Gods of Mount Olympus who were seriously wrong footed to believe it was ‘Ambrosia’.

For Glaswegians…food of the Gods is the nectar of a Gregg’s pie, newly transported from their premises in a paper poke…then consumed while on the saunter.

May we saunter when we wish………. Eat and drink in moderation when we please….but most of all…….. having the ability to smile

P.S. Named to recruit to the plastic duck brigade. he is Pistol whipping ‘Sam’
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peter.howden
JIM 12 (Part three)

What could have been mistaken as a solemn pious expression, but was a dread of unknown scale the vigilant stranger checked, and re-checked, no one else was near enough to listen, before he was prepared to utter a single symbol. Then; and only then, he slowly deliberately spoke “The self-named prophet came out of nowhere, professing to be chosen by a sacred redeemer, to be given the holy wisdom, and a purpose of spreading the message to the four corners of this earth”.

Stopping to check once again and with sweat showing on his wrinkled brow, the stranger again spoke, “these revered laws were simple words originated from his deity, and his sanctified word was above all doctrines gone before… swept away to infinity…so this manmade true light shone throughout the entire earth!”. “All other theologies where to be thrown to the ground and trampled until they are no more…his words are law and law must be obeyed unquestionably”.

The dreadful interpretation continued “At first, no one took him seriously, just another crank, however as time passed, some unscrupulous bodies furtively recognized the potential power they could weald behind such words, as the peoples of the world were desperately searching for redemption!”. The eyes sharply and continuously darted back and forth, as his breathing was as deep as possible, the words the stranger spoke, continued slowly as a murmur, “The so-called Prophet’s flamboyant and hypnotizing doctrine, newly scripted by hidden authors, was dictated to humans of all races, and the first and main law was…. the body is a mere vehicle of motion, while the head of all believers, is to be pure sanitized perfection. One foreign seed, one speck of dirt or sign of unfit slivers from the air, upset the equilibrium of belief and the true faith”.

Stopping only to take another much-needed breath he continued to relate how the prophet had a huge protection ring named the ‘Thee Ones, the inner circle’ who were mere immoral thugs in disguise as dedicated cliques. The Prophet’s worshipers grew and grew until non-believers where unseen but did exist in secret ……no one dared openly oppose the divinity and now behaved as you have just witnessed…a hollow existence rather than life….

Struggling to take in this account as it defied logic, but Jim knew it was true, no matter how ludicrous it sounded. He then inquired seriously,

why are the building covered in transparent plastic?
what are these poor screaming souls been dragged away for?

The poor stranger bowed his head and gravely responded, “I will explain about the buildings shortly…but the brutal so-called arrests… fear engineering fear …the bastards are torturing then executing them…. simply because they have defied the first law…they have dandruff…

The last episode next
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peter.howden



JIM 12 (Part Four)

"must sound completely ludicrous to you, some eccentricity taken out of ‘Alice thru the looking glass”, quoted the nervous Stanger, instantly seeing Jim’s expression of astonishment, if not total disbelief. “it is madness…but No…I am not insane”, bleakly spoken, then added, “what it is terrifyingly true…the whole bizarre petrifying theatre has become impossibly normal so quickly … what I am about to add, is equally factual and diabolically perilous to the survival of humans as a species… yesterday is a blur…. tomorrow is never’…meanwhile is frightened out of our wits

Swiftly the stranger followed sternly, “It was just plain simple words, but each day, the words, and meanings, were drummed out over the loud speakers, hour in, hour out, every waken moment until each thought, and deed was spellbound with the first law”; ‘the body is a mere vehicle of motion, while the head of all believers, is to be pure sanitized perfection’ pounded constantly blaring through electroacoustic transducers, with the meaning became more distorted each airing, raking into every thought and breath. Within a short time, and with the influx of the protective squads everywhere, it became usual to pick anyone out for any fault on their scalp…even dandruff’…. Safe if it was not you… life became meaningless…survival vital”

Clamours from outside halted the wave of clarification until another shock narration came, “every one of the heavy brigade came up through concealed manholes from the massive underground network, housing the expanding ‘Thee Ones’ and the ‘Prophet’s ever expanding community, his blood-thirsty armies of dog soldiers, military might in a massive scale, scientists of all nationalities and stations , computer wizards operating his worldwide infrastructures coaching his satellite societies”

Stopping for a moment or two, the stranger strains to remain, “The people dragged away from up-top, are not executed straight away, instead placed in scientific laboratories, bare testing zones, to gamble with ‘Cordceps Unilateralis’, parasitic fungus which manipulates conduct. Spores attach themselves to the body, programmed to penetrate through its breathing pours. Microorganisms filaments start to grow inside the bound victim, absorbing the host’s soft tissues while avoiding the vital organs.

“When chemically ready, it spreads airborne, via the reversed air vents, sporulate the mycelia grow quickly in the brain producing Enzymes acting and altering perception and instructions with the mind of the unforeseen host …. …so, the vain need of building sanctuaries covered in plastic…. even if it is useless protection”

“I believe we are one of the last pockets of resistance against the debauched regime of this said prophet”. Jim’s solemn face, shows no relief asking the now spent slumped stranger how such intelligent peoples of society could be so absent and misled With such pathetic eyes almost bewitched with fear the stranger looked up slowly saying, “Three whole months and because of stupidity or unawareness of the severity for the whole of mankind each academic was killed in such inhuman experiments on the very first wave”.

“I don’t know how long we can avoid the inevitable, as we are close to being ‘TANoids’, almost entirely taken over by believing dandruff is against this deity’s first commandment”.

Jim had listened intently then concluded with a thought…. the brain applies immense energy to protect appalling actions …. not remembering blind fury…. the human mind is a strange mechanism …. what it wishes not to witness, buries the information deep in hidden catacombs.

Closing his eyes briefly then opening them…everything disappeared…. except, Jim found himself back at his Pullman’s coach. He spoke to himself; “It is said blood can have a curious taste, even your own, however, whole nation has a taste for blood…. but not their own. I wonder a wee bit, if we are compromised thru the evil, dressed up in all guises, while we study in search of rectifying…. we are in risk of become contaminated by the forte we clash with all our valour”
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peter.howden
Anecdotes from the auld Steamie

Big Ben Strikes Again

Peewee decided, based on the chance of skiving, taking on the duties of shop steward, within a certain district of a heavy industrial metropolitan, with amenities for swimming, Turkish suites and the Auld Steamies. Such facilities were housed in purposes constructed solid Victorian buildings, dotted around the city’s engineering working class community structures took on a life of their own and a much-needed service for those deprived districts. Unknown to Peewee taking up such a post, a certain situational problem was bubbling and brewing under a pretence of a calm surface.

The first thing discovered was September weekend overtime, taken as given from way back by the employees. It may seem presumptuous expectation, but the other side of the coin was ancient culture of low wages and a unwritten legacy handed down throughout the known years. Talks were utterly useless as the new wave of managers, gaffers and supervisors had never worked at the coal face, so to speak, but held a piece of paper, certifying being college graduates…or worse still…had the blue handshake, like Andy Pandy.

The Area manager, the superintendent two shift supervisors, including Andy Pandy, had that smartly, near smirk, smile as they said repeatedly…their hand were tied. All was lost until Peewee started thinking.

There was no getting away from it, Ben was a dangerous big man. Long before Peewee knew of his pedigree, one thing was certain, if you got into a fight with him, you would have to kill him. If he lost his temper, or control of himself, then you would have no choice what so ever. Sounds brutal but Big Ben could be brutal and a lifetime heavy villain. He could be O’K but was always gruff…even when he laughed.

Entering the posh Turkish suite, knowing only the big man was in cleaning the place, peewee kept uttering, aloud, it was a shame. Big Ben called out from the steam box, asking what was a shame. Peewee, the little squirt, explains how the delicate negotiation broke down and he had no idea how to tell the workforce there was no holiday weekend overtime. “I never work overtime, so it doesn’t affect me! “echoed Big Ben. “Yes true, but I need a bloke who can question these gaffers with skilled tactful dexterity, but if you won’t do it…who else is there?”



Before another syllable was said, Big Ben rushed impulsively past Peewee heading for the suite’s door, dressed only in a small coporation towel attempting, almost unsuccessfully, to cover his modesty. A quietness befell the Turkish Suite until five minutes or so, Big Ben returned triumphantly grinning while informing wee Peewee, anybody wishing to work overtime on the holiday, just report so to Andy Pandy. Big Ben, almost naked, had marched into the office and simple asked the question “why are you lot stopping the overtime due to the squad?”

It was not the fact the bosses did not have an answer, or thought they were not justified to cancel the said overtime…however Peewee was completely aware, all the gaffers were apprehensive about Ben’s crude abilities and heated actions…it proves one point…all these collage certificates were no defence in this one sided, short debate
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peter.howden
Anecdotes from the auld Steamie

Big Ben Strikes Again


Peewee decided, based on the chance of skiving, taking on the duties of shop steward, within a certain district of a heavy industrial metropolitan, with amenities for swimming, Turkish suites and the Auld Steamies. Such facilities were housed in purposes constructed solid Victorian buildings, dotted around the city’s engineering working class community structures took on a life of their own and a much-needed service for those deprived districts. Unknown to Peewee taking up such a post, a certain situational problem was bubbling and brewing under a pretence of a calm surface.


The first thing discovered was September weekend overtime, taken as given from way back by the employees. It may seem presumptuous expectation, but the other side of the coin was ancient culture of low wages and a unwritten legacy handed down throughout the known years. Talks were utterly useless as the new wave of managers, gaffers and supervisors had never worked at the coal face, so to speak, but held a piece of paper, certifying being college graduates…or worse still…had the blue handshake, like Andy Pandy.

The Area manager, the superintendent two shift supervisors, including Andy Pandy, had that smartly, near smirk, smile as they said repeatedly…their hand were tied. All was lost until Peewee started thinking.

There was no getting away from it, Ben was a dangerous big man. Long before Peewee knew of his pedigree, one thing was certain, if you got into a fight with him, you would have to kill him. If he lost his temper, or control of himself, then you would have no choice what so ever. Sounds brutal but Big Ben could be brutal and a lifetime heavy villain. He could be O’K but was always gruff…even when he laughed.

Entering the posh Turkish suite, knowing only the big man was in cleaning the place, peewee kept uttering, aloud, it was a shame. Big Ben called out from the steam box, asking what was a shame. Peewee, the little squirt, explains how the delicate negotiation broke down and he had no idea how to tell the workforce there was no holiday weekend overtime. “I never work overtime, so it doesn’t affect me! “echoed Big Ben. “Yes true, but I need a bloke who can question these gaffers with skilled tactful dexterity, but if you won’t do it…who else is there?”



Before another syllable was said, Big Ben rushed impulsively past Peewee heading for the suite’s door, dressed only in a small coporation towel attempting, almost unsuccessfully, to cover his modesty. A quietness befell the Turkish Suite until five minutes or so, Big Ben returned triumphantly grinning while informing wee Peewee, anybody wishing to work overtime on the holiday, just report so to Andy Pandy. Big Ben, almost naked, had marched into the office and simple asked the question “why are you lot stopping the overtime due to the squad?”

It was not the fact the bosses did not have an answer, or thought they were not justified to cancel the said overtime…however Peewee was completely aware, all the gaffers were apprehensive about Ben’s crude abilities and heated actions…it proves one point…all these collage certificates were no defence in this one sided, short debate
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peter.howden
My Chronicles 21/06/2017;


It is no more just a communicator on the bell, it is an educated phone beyond imagination of just a few years back…a pocket size computer…if you have biggish pockets. There is no real need to have personal experience of a place, or puzzle or an exotic holiday. At a press of a few authentic buttons, you can be anywhere in the world, or email a friend or loved one, however those actions do not carry personal memories which will last near a lifetime…they tend to fade into an area of the mind just as data, imitating the very apparatus itself.

A universal connector which can bring individuals suffering from isolation, into a wee box, close to what the marvellous Pete Seeger sang all those years ago…’Little boxes’…like a digit cancer…it spreads.

Aunt Becky is isolated in her home, however fortunately she is unaware she is. Becky’s wee world is her home, her books and dally newspapers, along with the weekly dreaded pamphlet ‘The Digger’, which she says is the old news of the world cut down to save money. Becky does not watch the television anymore, she has forgotten how to switch it on, and while she did view the box, became mixed up with the adverts and just turned it off.

What is more serious, Becky has difficulty remembering anything longer than 30 seconds, but the good news is, she reads all her papers and magazines over and over…keeping her make-believe sense of reality. Becky is a happy wee soul, but her care in the hands of ‘Cordia’ is more than questionable…if not disturbing

The other day, Becky remembered how long ago, with Rebecca’s whole family, visiting ‘Rue’ as an annual outing. Pots and pans, along with, towels, tea and sugar, no milk because it quickly soured, more like a flitting than a day out. Lit a fire on the rugged beach while Nancy (the voice, my mother-in-law) heated the water carried in pop bottles, then buying ginger with the empties (known, by Glaswegians, as glass cheques). Laughter and tears created marvellous memories of swimming and chittering. Becky with a happy smile put me in the mood to stopover again…thank you… Slàinte mhath.

Yesterday I had the good fortune to attend a funeral. This may appear strange language to use at a time of shock, pain and individual isolation for the grieving family… but can I explain. I never met the man, but knew his wife, and this is the reason for being present. The family had chosen a humanist funeral, as both sons and a family friend contributed stories, and history, of their beloved father and friend. It was obvious they were under great strain, but related, with love, funny anecdotes to the congregation, to celebrate the gentleman’s life. So much so, I really wish I had met him, and how fortunate he had his family…and how fortunate the family had him.

The father had been involved with horses, training and riding them for most of his life. He was keen participator in ‘The Hunt’ with several years being the master of the huntsman. It was a family request just before the end of the service, that the horn used to start the chase procedures, could be played as a last testament. The loud, well kent blast trumpeted and rebounded around the modern hall of the church. It is said that two urban foxes outside, in ear shot of the noise….had near heart failure.
Hunting is not my Forte… but the gesture was a fitting salute to a very kind and protective man…
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peter.howden
Foretastes of a 60s adolescent


The kissing Bruce;

No matter how old you are, or your status in life, whither bright or just average in any given intelligence test, in your eyes… you have made a fool of yourself somewhere along the line, yet… true friendship proves to be is a smashing gift, dulling down any pure riddy.

I have fortunate having a few close companions with plain talking ways, however they may not have always appreciate such frankness with sensitive matters while a naive drafted teenager. Not always truthful with myself, how can I expect to be so wise and understanding with others personal adolescence. For someone supposed to be slightly smart… I could be, and still hold a tendency to be, rather stupid.

The classification of an honest friend is one who stick with you regardless of what you say, or do while learning the art of living. You gab and insult a mate with almost impunity, where caution would prevent acting the same with someone you did not like or instantly do not trust. Every time I had a need, a China was always there…. You can’t beat a good comrade… even with a stick?

Due to my inexperience in the past, subtleness was not my strong point, and surprisingly very close mates stuck it out…but I was so very grateful they did…and do. The strange thing is you appear to be in competition on anything while remaining staunchly loyal. In the 60s, such phrases as “I don’t like the look of yours?” was a common whisper entering a dancefloor, or anywhere there was talent (now both description are very much politically frowned on). Please try to remember we were naïveté in the true art of wooing any young presentable partner, and the safety margin was still to be discovered.

As an example of my thoughtless conduct was when “The Bruce” came to me with a delicate problem, I could have exercised a little choicer compassion. Grim faced asking about his smooching technique, and how he was the odd man out at parties no matter how much drink he gives to the ladies. “The Bruce” was always left out of Postman’s knock, or games of that close personalized contact. If you ever saw a photograph of him, he had the appearance of early mobsters from Chicago would give. Square built with a sombre glance rarely broken with a smile. However, his mixed beverage was always a knock out, regardless what he was left to work with, he could drown sorrows in uncharted spirits.

Back to ‘The Bruce’s’ intimate problem, I told him how girls called him a wet wincher, as he had the habit of slobbering all over his partner or victim. Possible it was in the rare excitement of it all but this was perfectly true, as girls regularly said so after a party or the next day in the one coke stop off cafe, forming the infamous result. Coupled with being not very attractive, though I was informed they could suffer this drawback, but not the wet blanket impression while he attempted to plant a big one. Moisture is all right in the correct place,” I told him…practice with your pillow of an evening. If it is moist in any way try another angle…and keep your mouth closed.

I found “The Bruce” a perfect mate as he would stand by you if it did not involve fighting. He was no coward, but would run a mile to avoid physical confrontation. On insight, I may have been less than discreet telling ‘The Bruce’ all this information, then seeing how embarrassed he was at my careless chastising words…even though they were true.

This thoughtlessness or deliberate humiliating behaviour was not all one sided, by any manner of means as the main man let slip my ultimate secret. Recently I had been issued with a complete set of ‘wallies’ attempting to kept secret from almost everybody. While having personal friendliness with a young lady in the back of a motor car owned by Rammy (another very close chum), being so quiet in the car, at one point the noise of my newly found plastic ivories noisily clattered shut.

The uncomfortable female asked in a high-pitched voice if I had false teeth. Before I had a chance to make up a story, “The Bruce” called, “certainly and have you noticed his limp?” “Did you know everything in or on his body has a slant or an angle and his testacies are non-existent, since he took them out and played them like spoons” …. Nervously she made an excuse and exited the motorized vehicle …. I never saw that poor flushed girl again

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peter.howden





The old-fashioned funeral


“Haud yer wheesht…,I need an old fashion funeral… Yer bum’s oot the windae… awa’ an bile yer heid” croaked Jock (not his real name for legal reasons ) looking towards the lanky guy from the bib mob, known only as ‘The fixer’ (an alias ) standing astride as he explained in the Queen’s English; “look… you came to me for my specialised service, you’re in serious debt, way above his head, and I have been asked to assist you…for a price” the Fixer ended by flicking his cigarette ash onto Jock’s shoes..

Jock was pale faced while uttering, “Aye right, beggars cannae be choosers, but I’m up to high doh Jimmy”

“My name is not Jimmy!” The Fixer with an icy chill in his voice, which gave Jock the massage. “We will organize a mystery accident after you gain life insurance with double indemnity, then the oldest funeral operators in the town will perform their tradition pious duties to the letter…everything will go like clockwork…I assure you!”

Jock looked sceptical spluttering out his feelings, “Ma heid’s mince… a nod’s as guid as a wink tae a blind horse”,

The Fixer took his time replying…then enlightened quietly; “There is no danger, we have worked this scam many times, breathing apparatus installed, and hidden in a specially crafted coffin, made by the best manufacturer firm of allusion equipment ever to exist on this planet!” The Chancer added, They have built equipment, served all the greats for a century and a half, such as David Blaine, Harry Houdini, The Great Blackstone, and of course the Frenchman Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin.


Jock did not want to look like an Eejit, he knew a Harry but he had never heard of Houdini…or the rest of that mob, but it did sound impressive, so with reluctances said, “Beggars cannae be choosers, but in truth, its Geein me the boak!”. “Not to worry Jock” said the confident Fixer, ready to clarify his plan; “

“we need to have an old fashioned funeral company, and I know the oldest funeral directors still in the business, They will dig two graves, side by side, one open, one hidden ,,, once the service is finished…they always use the oldest Fossor (grave digger) who suffers from lumbago and arthritis, starts to take small shovels of soil…once you hear the slight drops of earth, that’s the signal to start loosening the inside screws to open the coffin at the left side, then roll into the second hidden unfilled birth, wait until mourners have gone, then rise up and journey to a secret hideout, ready in a couple of days… I will have masquerade as your brother…collected the money pay-out … we will share it 50/50, everything will go like clockwork”

A couple of weeks later, while conversing with an associate, asked Chancer “it’s a pity the modern wee bulldozer was used that very morning for the first time, scuttling your best laid plans…Jock didn’t have a chance, as soon as the preacher was over ..it took seconds to fill both holes as a massive amount of earth just pounded both graves!”.

The fixer in solemn mode of a crafty fox explaining, “It did worked like clockwork…for me… who do you think phoned up the ancient funeral firm, suggesting the client insisted modernizing their old procedure, and if they would have a trial run straight after the graveside service, I would supply the dumper…free of charge …and of course… tick tock… I have all the double indemnity insurance …Tickety Boo!”
peter.howden
My Chronicles 30/06/2017;

It is always the wee things, much more than the serious quandaries, has the capabilities of upset a household, which is the state of play in the ‘Howden’s’ home. Distress is mounting as how we can penetrate through the realms of rules and restrictions, mysteriously hidden in the vaults deep in the depths of some abyss, instructing and forged in the minds of mid management, employed by Cordia, defying any common logic to aid its clientele or concerned relatives of the said. The saving grace is, Aunt Becky is totally unaware of the problem…or anything

As one of many examples; this is certainly the computer age where anything is nigh impossible, but Cordia administrators can not comply as to mailing letters and information to our address, as we both are ‘Power of Attorney’ for Aunt Becky, who has progressive Dementia. Cordia’s employees continue to say this is not possible, outside their perimeters of instruction (whatever the heck that means?). Becky is the customer, and we take instruction from her alone. Her form held in their office…but because there is no area in the form where such an instruction can be lawfully placed, they cannot oblige. Their workforce all use up to date educated mobile phones, which are Jacks of all trades via the internet…but there is no space on a computer page to rectify the problem.


The computer can travel anywhere in the world while you sit comfortably behind a screen as the general in chief off all you can survey at the touch of a control panel, ready and willing tabs to obey. There is a worry it may affect the innocent minds of the young, locked physically alone in a isolated room, doing time…know in Barlinnie as a ‘Single Petar’. Their personal communication skills could be affected…yet years ago the same thing was said about worldwide radio…then television…made by older people…who listen and watched both, with goggled fascination.

My imagination dominates my concentration and thinking, way above the internet or any electric gadget. Using my imagination, within a pure magic jiffy, I can be anywhere in my memories, smelling and seeing right from the original awareness. The famous quote from Rudyard Kipling, ‘if you can dream and not make dreams your master!’ Wow. I can be in Dunbar with Boys Brigade Mates, seeing my first love ‘Alice’ as the wheat and Barley float on the wind, the aroma penetrates my nostrils. My first glance to see ‘She who must be obeyed’ and our first date, then if I wish, particularly camping near Loch Lomond. A computer can reach the four corners of the world, including focusing the lay of the land at and around the famous Loch, but personal secluded exclusive viewing…pure dead brilliant.

We can be ‘in touch’ with friends and strangers via the internet, but nothing surpasses meeting people in person. For me personally it is meeting my’ Chinas’, for no matter how long it has been…or what circumstances, it happens there is always jelly of excitement within me. I seldom show it when I do arrive…but it is there…bubbling and cooking god knows what.

‘She who must be obeyed’ while she is out galivanting, has left strict instructions to watch the ‘Homemade Soup’ on the stove, bubbling in the big pot. It is more than my life’s worth to let it stick to the bottom or the sheer calamity of it burning. This in mind, I stir it regularly every 10 minutes, however unfortunately the downstairs new cooking apparatus installed alarm bell is rather puny in sound. To avoid a fate worse than death, I took a wee timing gadget, shaped like a egg, setting it for 11 minutes, up the stairs in my pocket while I am typing this message.

‘I have a grand memory for forgetting’ another famous quote, because I was so engrossed in my deliberation on the screen, my mind was elsewhere…when out of the blue the egg-shaped apparatus was going bananas in my pocket …ringing and vibrating at the same alarming time…I nearly shat myself…. better go and check…what for?.......it’s in your mind…
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peter.howden

My Chronicles 30/06/2017;

It is always the wee things, much more than the serious quandaries, has the capabilities of upset a household, which is the state of play in the ‘Howden’s’ home. Distress is mounting as how we can penetrate through the realms of rules and restrictions, mysteriously hidden in the vaults deep in the depths of some abyss, instructing and forged in the minds of mid management, employed by Cordia, defying any common logic to aid its clientele or concerned relatives of the said. The saving grace is, Aunt Becky is totally unaware of the problem…or anything

As one of many examples; this is certainly the computer age where anything is nigh impossible, but Cordia administrators can not comply as to mailing letters and information to our address, as we both are ‘Power of Attorney’ for Aunt Becky, who has progressive Dementia. Cordia’s employees continue to say this is not possible, outside their perimeters of instruction (whatever the heck that means?). Becky is the customer, and we take instruction from her alone. Her form held in their office…but because there is no area in the form where such an instruction can be lawfully placed, they cannot oblige. Their workforce all use up to date educated mobile phones, which are Jacks of all trades via the internet…but there is no space on a computer page to rectify the problem.

The computer can travel anywhere in the world while you sit comfortably behind a screen as the general in chief off all you can survey at the touch of a control panel, ready and willing tabs to obey. There is a worry it may affect the innocent minds of the young, locked physically alone in a isolated room, doing time…know in Barlinnie as a ‘Single Petar’. Their personal communication skills could be affected…yet years ago the same thing was said about worldwide radio…then television…made by older people…who listen and watched both with goggled fascination.

My imagination dominates my concentration and thinking, way above the internet or any electric gadget. Using my imagination, within a pure magic jiffy, I can be anywhere in my memories, smelling and seeing right from the original awareness. The famous quote from Rudyard Kipling, ‘if you can dream and not make dreams your master!’ Wow. I can be in Dunbar with Boys Brigade Mates, seeing my first love ‘Alice’ as the wheat and Barley float on the wind, the aroma penetrates my nostrils. My first glance to see ‘She who must be obeyed’ and our first date, then if I wish, particularly camping near Loch Lomond. A computer can reach the four corners of the world, including focusing the lay of the land at and around the famous Loch, but personal secluded exclusive viewing…pure dead brilliant.

We can be ‘in touch’ with friends and strangers via the internet, but nothing surpasses meeting people in person. For me personally it is meeting my’ Chinas’, for no matter how long it has been…or what circumstances, it happens there is always jelly of excitement within me. I seldom show it when I do arrive…but it is there…bubbling and cooking god knows what.

‘She who must be obeyed’ while she is out galivanting, has left strict instructions to watch the ‘Homemade Soup’ on the stove, bubbling in the big pot. It is more than my life’s worth to let it stick to the bottom or the sheer calamity of it burning. This in mind, I stir it regularly every 10 minutes, however unfortunately the downstairs new cooking apparatus installed alarm bell is rather puny in sound. To avoid a fate worse than death, I took a wee timing gadget, shaped like a egg, setting it for 11 minutes, up the stairs in my pocket while I am typing this message.

‘I have a grand memory for forgetting’ another famous quote, because I was so engrossed in my deliberation on the screen, my mind was elsewhere…when out of the blue the egg-shaped apparatus was going bananas in my pocket …ringing and vibrating at the same alarming time…I nearly shat myself…. better go and check…what for?.......it’s in your mind… [size="4"][/size]
peter.howden
A booked Holiday

‘She who must be obeyed’ and I, enjoyed our second two week holiday abroad in Lisbon, obviously not counting the week we had touring Jersey while guests at the almost fairy-tale wedding between dazzling Marion and handsome Thomas Brady, Rebecca’s brother., Having never flown before, preparing nervously for the trip to St Heller’s, I was more than a tad feart, though Rebecca was perfectly comfortable volunteering to soar, in what I considered to be, a large cigar shaped tin tube.

Petrified is an ugly word to a coward when up ‘high Doh’, reluctantly boarding the plane and the dreaded take-off…. yet once up in the clouds, what a stunning overwhelming experience to have. If this is where God stays, for a few precise moments… I was envious. The ancient Greek Gods, rumoured to be the occupants of Mount Olympus. Now I could understand how humans believed in ‘Zeus’, commanding such an out of the world spaced out Panoramic vision.

To a seasoned traveller, this maybe be out of par, but my eyes budge as an enthralled animated child, in full flight. ‘Oh, help ma bob’, this colossal of this earth, just outside the plane, floating along just as ‘Dumbo’ did with Walt’ Disney’s; The endless blue still reflects in my mind’s eye as does the original thrill. The fact blue is a trick of prism light penetrating Earth, doesn’t diminish the marvel of it all, in fact it adds to it, along with the white moving candyfloss carpet was something else out of this world.

What about the holiday in Lisbon? Only one word can come close to explain it all, and the word; ‘fandabbydozie fre evrubdy’… So, my arithmetic is rather poor.

The hotel we picked was a couple of ‘bob’, certainly worth the jewel oasis on the roof, concealing a swimming pond, palm trees, Sauna, and Turkish suites, along with Jacuzzi, service with a click of any fingers, complete with the ever-present smile. This was vital for Rebecca, as we are sightseeing, in the growing heat of a morning, through the bustle of the city and beyond, this was a recouping energy station as the heat of the day passed us by. ‘She who must be obeyed’ relaxed reading a novel under the palms, while I had a cool dip while squinting at the view across the rooftops to the vast streets below.

We used the Metro system, as it was very cheap and, apart from the castle, everything was just stroll away from one of their station. There were warnings posters galore, of pickpockets and bag snatchers, however these notices are quite small, ignored by visiting public, no matter how prominent they are placed. Holiday travellers tend to think, since we are on holiday, it won’t happen to us, and anyway these things are not as bad as it is painted.

The hotel breakfast area was also open to non-residents and passing trade and the like. Very early one morning, a group of American ladies, staying at the hotel, left one piece of light luggage on a single chair, at their chosen breakfast table, while they made their way to the server trolley. I recall seeing a cagy bloke wearing a hat, looking out of place, using tic-tac to someone else across the bistro. Within seconds, he and the other fella, plus a woman holding the door open, vanished silently, so was the foursome’s belongings, including almost every cent they had, their passports also took flight, leaving them as pitiful “Victims”.

One morning as we travelled on the bullet tram beside the ‘Tagus Estuary’ and Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge, a pair of dippers (pickpockets) tried it on us. Spotting them, amusingly directly under a passenger’s sign warning of pickpockets. The first guy struck up a conversation with me (alerted by simply as a rule, this was out of character for local Portuguese, for they will converse to be helpful, and polite, but only as a response) distracting my attention, while the second bloke attempted to unzip my rucksack, holding only water and snacks, for our tumbling along sightseeing.

Signalling to Rebecca as best as I could in a very crowded carriage, although she did not cotton on quickly… but the twa purloiners catch on…that I had caught on, fleeing the coup by dismounted the tram at the next stop, quickly disappeared into the throng of the moving crowd. I reckon we were bags lucky.

Continuing; the Last page…cagy time with burly armed men of the law, in Lisbon …[size="4"][/size]
peter.howden
The moggy

The cat sat on the mat as if a holy command. The cat always sat on the mat, except for one time when an unknown intruder broke in and callously stood on the mat. Where the cat came, from, cannot be determined by human or breast, but the cat’s viciousness was wilder than any Scottish wild cat famed for heredity ferocity. The cat flew straight at the interloper, having no time to move was still illicitly standing on the mat. Its open claws dug deep into virgin skin, while the closing action caused red blood to spurt uncontrollable across the burglar’s unprotected face.

The thief’s arms swiped the air in blind terror, caused by the blood entering his eyes, preventing miserable attempts to free himself from the feline’s savage attack. The very next moment the cat’s teeth sank into the defenceless open neck of the now agonized untheorized interloper. Sheer panic caused a wave of reckless arm movements which luckily managed to dislodge the reputed domesticated cat in its bloody activities

The purloiner fled like a mad man.

Why did the cat who daily sat on the mat is a mystery, though philosophies rage from…out of pure boredom…to the ridiculous belief it had in fact fell in love with the dog…having mood swings…who knows?…but the cat… is still sitting on the mat
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peter.howden

A booked Holiday Finally


Unfortunately, almost every city in the world, there is brutal adversity in areas of Lisbon (especially near the castle and up at the backward hills?) styles the old slums of Glasgow appear to be in Newton Mearns class. Around the splendid castle, numerous swanky restaurants prosper amid purlieus scarcity. When the reality dawned, ‘It’s hardly in a body’s power to keep at times, of being sour’ as the Scottish Bard wrote, irrespective of the smiles of the peoples.

Visiting foreign parts, most affluent visitors from our shores, view the local scenes as ‘Quaint and Romantic’, where the unseen reality poverty beyond our imagination is surrounded with dearth in an indefinite scale takes its toil with day to day survival.

The richness in religion appears more obvious in the scarcity of the poor. Glasgow’s reputations of a pub every corner, where Lisbon has a Chapel at each corner, and the middle too. The people support their own individual chapel, with great sacrificing pride with services, very moving in quiet reverence.

We both enjoyed slowly walking through these neighbourhoods, although Rebecca was weary, it was all worth the effort and as a true Scotsman, worth the expenses. It was our experience, if you tried to utter their own language, badly as it proved, the laughter and the help received because of it, was boundless with grand efforts from the local populace.

To be linguistic in Portuguese, I had borrowed a book from the East Kilbride Library, some weeks earlier than the holiday, but my achievements limited to ‘Obrigado’... ‘Bom Dia’... ‘Onde é obanheiro’ (where is the toilet) the book was with me to aid instant translation, when needed which popped up on our excursions. Within one of the beautiful central shopping areas of Lisbon, ‘She who must be obeyed’ decided to investigate, of all places, a health shop. I was carrying nick-knacks in my ever-ready rucksack.

Through a sort of turnstile, we entered the shop as the security alarm bell rang, which I took little notice, walking almost aimless around, then moved towards the front of the shop. The trouble started once Rebecca left the shop and I tried to follow suit. Again, the security bell sounded alert, closely followed by a manager trying to encourage me to try again. This just made the bells clang once more, seemingly louder, signal the head of the shop. He arrived to beckon myself deeper into the shops premises with an enchanting smile.

Two burly police officers appearing from nowhere, producing exited and heated language, full grammar and vocabulary in Portuguese wasted on my ears. This followed my stuttering attempts, ‘nilo percebo, eu nao falo Portugues, faz favour fale mais devagar’. Shorter translated means… ‘Help’

Big guys had long hard batons, giving the impressions of being swords strapped to their tense bodies as natural, complete with guns and handcuffs. Once they ran the shop’s apparatus over the bag, they discovered my library book, I had taken on holiday called “teach you Portuguese” was in my almost empty haversack along with a bottle of water (essential) and a jerkin for Rebecca was the cause of the problem. The bar code of the lending book, was the cause of it all.

Hired
Calls from a whimsy voice of ‘Erro and Desculpe’ came from one of the two stony frames, when just before they signalled a wish to toss me into the River Tagus. I was almost arrested for shoplifting…in a health shop, of all places.

The worst thing about the whole experience was Rebecca knew nothing of the fifteen -minute affair, believing she had been left stranded in the middle of a strange city, thinking I had just wandered off, as usual. She decided incident must be true… as I was much to daft to think up such an excuse…who knows?.
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peter.howden
The Cat

“The cat sat on the mat”, is a much-cherished children book, a starting point to teach our very young children simple language skills, though…it could be argued, this seemingly plain line of words, are indeed extremely deep, near complex to extremes.

A credible enlightenment could be how a cartoon caption of the Cat, with large wide eyes, to underline at a glance, the whole story… along with the printed word. Now this could suggest, with such wide eyes the cat was a suffering paranoid schizophrenic, sitting on a mat, or an imaginary mat, looking bewildered…not grasping what is real and more important…what is not.

These oversized eyes suggest the cat’s mind gawking right into the abyss of the past as an unwilling kitten cruelly kicked off the mat. Yet…with those Vertical-slit pupils of the Cat, may alert how the poor wee moggy has ‘Duel Personality’ which may suggest, if there are two delusional cats, it begs the question….which cat is sat on the mat….which mat is the feline sitting on.

One of the sides of duel personality cat, this would present a possibility of two mats, so which one would the tabby sit on? Would this then present the argument the schizophrenic moggy could, or would believe, the other cat is off his mat because there is only one imaginary mat? If the pussy is allergic to the fibers of the mat, which one would it be? And who would scratch or more to the point; who would benefit from such an act?

Therefore, if the other cat, separate from the imaginary cat, would think it is a real mat, believing the schizophrenic puss is being selfish, even if he only imagines this to be the case. For there could only be one mat though, either illusion or real. However, both cats have never read ‘Schrödinger's cat’, quantum theory of superposition,

Nevertheless, if tragically the cat suffers ‘Multiple personality disorder’; D.I.D, but a new problem therefore arises. The origin is severe instant trauma…perhaps caused by being unwillingly kicked off a mat. However, with so many personalities causing mayhem…there would be no room on the mat

Where sits a sulky sullen cat gathering her brows like gathering storm… nursing her wrath to keep it warm
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peter.howden
How the Kingfisher changed

It was just before the beginning, when time itself was unable to start because all the faults had not been smoothed out. The world was split between the sea and the land, predators and pray, with a sort of system had been in operation, however it to need tweeted. In the Panthalassa, Tethys oceans, billions of all kinds of swimming creatures, mostly fish, who were both prey and slayer. A massive land structure supported all kinds of creatures, both quarry and hunter. Underneath the ground were trillions of worms and creepy things, so many they were beyond count. The colossal rivers supported eels and fish again killers and hunted.

In the one big sky every kind of birds you could imagine or dream, both(hunters and foragers) . Some chose the two oceans to do their bidding …some chose the diversity of the rivers and in this category, none bar none were more adaptable and continuously thriving than the tenacious plain dull brownish Kingfisher…lord over all he surveyed.

There were no waterways called Struths, no Burns, for recognizable Scotland, did not exist, but then again, if there had been… A small river; a large creek; a body of moving water confined by banks would be the Kingfisher’s unchallenged kingdom, envious for all who witnessed. This is when the angry jealousy raised its ugly head… as the birds of the land would complain…Up the airy mountain, down the rashly glen, we daren’t go a hunting …in fear of the Kingfisher.

The murmurs became ugly as most birds joined the noisy fray… and the fish of the many rivers merged in collective gripe, conveying, and bubbling, how nimbleness of the wing the single-minded killer was when hunting, which has dared those darn wee birds to punch above their weight, by going for all fish great and small. As if a halleluiah choirs chorus of both the hunters and the prey, of the two oceans, joining in the now louder kerfuffle, calling out how these so-called fleeing ‘Kingfishers’ think they are nobles of the waters.

As it was the right of all on this newish planet, the all-powerful Arbitrator was called upon, to sort this problem. This palaver was all the Arbitrator needed, because the urgency of complexed things needed to be completed to be ready for time itself could be able to begin, with as few hiccups as possible. “Whatever I decide will be law!” said the Arbitrator, “an unchangeable decree till the end of time!” warned the disgruntled Mediator. ‘once I have said my say, I will say no more’ thundered the Arbiter.

“You fish of the rivers complain how Kingfishers ambush, blending in with the trees and banks” …and you birds of the oceans believe the Kingfishers will grow bigger and bigger, threating your existence” instructed the intermediator. A hush did not contradict this direct conclusion.

“The kingfishers will be commanded to stay at the banks of the rivers… and will be engineered by nature’s evolution, to remain the same wee size” ordered the all-powerful Adjudicator. “That’s fine for the oceans but it will not stop the surprise attacks” blubbered the fish of the waterways. “SO” thundered the Adjudicator, infuriated being held back with more important needs. “The Kingfisher, true to the name and fame, will be given iridescent flash of colours, of luminously bright plumage… exotic royal orange, cyan and blue, everlasting…that is my rule!” then fell silent…for silence is the best insult to give such a stramash.

From then onwards until this very moment Kingfishers bare the royal markings due to its breeding….

“Bonnie wee thing, cannie wee thing…. lovely wee thing, wert thou mine….I would wear you in my bosom, lest my jewel it should tine”…so wrote the Bard.
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peter.howden
A SURPRISE;

One of the main reason why this ‘fair green place’ exists, better known as ‘Glasgow’, simply because it pours down tons of rain, raining like ‘Cats& Dogs’, sometimes whizzes up a meteorological stramash, causing even the heartiest of weather-beaten Glaswegian… grave concern. Last night was such an unwelcome night, and even with modern double glazing can cause moving spectral phantoms as the trees catch the streetlights producing illuminated shadows preforming macabre pantomimes

A couple of days previous to this harrowing night, I had sprained my right-hand thumb, making every arm movement and gesture ache, adding another knotted notch of crankiness to the life of an irritable grumpy man (first class). Now, as I sat at the imitation log fire, the wind was whipping a supernatural allusion austerity circling around in a untamed enthralled fashion…not often witnessed…and never told…until now.

Watching the false flames jerking around, unable in keeping the threat of the upcoming tempest at bay. My mind escaped by drifting way back to a time once we had a real blazing log hearth in the original home, when and where I told stories of the wee firemen to our children. In the tales, the flames roared up the make-believe lum as red-hot embers tumbled onto hardened Casablanca tiles, in curious shapes and sizes. The weans and I would submerge into the fable and they would believe seeing wee fiery men stepping out of the flames.

Now. my mind's eye wandered lazily into a dream fantasy, once again overtook reality by me seeing them slowly dancing towards me, reaching out as if they wished to touch bare skin. I started to sweat profusely as the near and nearer they came, crackling flashier and louder with each step.

Suddenly a almighty crash awoke me to discover a violent thunder/ lightning storm outside, with such a force to blowing the back door off its hinges and wide open to the scullery, where like the twilight zone pots & pans and crockery kitchenware, flew willy-nilly all over the place as if they had an evil intent all of their own. What happened in that precise moment I am not sure, but my bottle went, my senses went haywire, along with my heart pounding ten to a penny. Believing there was something in the house wanting to harm me…the nightmare began opening Pandora’s box

In diabolical mounting naked terror, I fled from room to room finding no safety within any, fearing someone or something was closing in for the carnage. My blood-pressure was out of control sky-high as my eyes narrowed, my heart pounding in almost unbearable pain, in fear what was before me. I reached the small toilet, and in futile gesture locked the door…. I sat down…this was my last salvation…. then my mind journeyed into a total blank abyss.

This very morning, two strangers with long coats were talking above me, saying ‘must have died of a heart attack or stroke!” said one to the other. Then the other said, “It’s an interesting fact, lots of people have died on the pan, Elvis, Catherine the Great, Lenny Bruce and William Holden, to name a few …don’t think this guy is in that league?”

I tried to answer but I just slumped there…unable to move…I was thinking…if I’m dead…. where am I?
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